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Attempted Illegal Border Crossings Drop to Eight-Month Low

Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, D.C., November 14, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Customs and Border Patrol announced on Tuesday that in January the agency recorded the fewest number of attempted illegal border crossings in eight months.

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters at a press conference that the agency had apprehended or denied entry to 36,679 people in January, down from 144,116 people in May 2019. Of the 36,679, 29,200 were arrested by the Border Patrol, while the remainder were refused entry to the U.S. at border crossings.

Morgan said the decrease in attempted crossings was attributable to “successful” Trump administration policies.

The Trump administration’s policies have included measures intended to stem the flow of asylum-seekers to the U.S.-Mexico border, such as the “Remain in Mexico” directives requiring asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases are processed in the U.S. Migrants are sometimes returned to other Latin American countries if their cases are rejected by the U.S.

The administration has also attempted to counter the phenomenon of sanctuary cities, where local governments instruct law enforcement not to cooperate with U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement. In the latest salvo against these policies, Attorney General William Barr announced Monday the Justice Department would commence a “significant escalation” in lawsuits against sanctuary cities for “unconstitutionally interfering” with immigration enforcement.

“Let us state the reality upfront and as clearly as possible,” Barr said at a conference in Washington, D.C. “When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we are talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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