A border enforcement advocate says Donald Trump's policies, including the threat of strict tariffs, have led to a dramatic drop in illegal border crossings.
Illegal crossings across the border have plummeted following the Trump administration's requirement that asylum seekers wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. court. More than 55,000 asylum seekers were returned to Mexico to wait for hearings through November -- ten months after the policy was introduced in San Diego.
Todd Bensman, senior national security fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), recently returned from travelling extensively along Mexico's southern border and says what Trump has forced Mexico to do has been incredibly effective.
"We've seen an almost 80 percent decline in the number of Central American apprehensions at the U.S. border, and that's because they're all bottled up down in south Mexico, or they've gone home, or they're not even trying anymore," Bensman explains.
And he says the behavior of those who manage to get all the way to the U.S. border has changed.
"In the very recent past, all of these migrants were seeking out Border Patrol so they could turn themselves in. Now they're running from them, and when they get caught, they're thrown back into Mexico to wait for their asylum there," the border enforcement advocate reports. "That's another layer of deterrence, and I think you're going to see the numbers just really keep falling."
The Mexican government has followed through on its pledge to block a caravan that set out from Honduras with the goal of crossing Mexico and eventually reaching the United States, but according to Mexico's foreign minister, Mexico is not a transit country, and migrants would either have to apply for asylum in Mexico or be deported.
"So they're essentially stuck in southern Mexico applying for asylum that takes months and months because of the backlog and just flat-out Mexican bureaucracy," Bensman summarizes.
He calls it "a big disincentive to come in" that arose when Donald Trump threatened to ruin their economy with tariffs on up to 25 percent on all Mexican goods if they did not comply.
"So they had to play ball," Bensman submits.
He adds that the migrants he has talked to want Trump to lose his re-election effort this fall.