Thanks to a new “remain in Mexico” policy implemented by the Trump administration that pertains to asylum seekers, the number of people attempting to enter the United States, legally and illegally, has dropped sharply in recent months.
The reduction in traffic means more Border Patrol agents are now back on the ground doing the jobs they were hired to do.
That is especially true in Yuma, Ariz., where agents are patrolling again after months of being inundated with illegal aliens, the Epoch Times reports.
Illegal alien traffic nearly tripled in the Yuma sector in fiscal year 2019 with some 68,000 apprehended. In May, when numbers peaked, agents were arresting about 450 people daily.
Two holding facilities in the sector with a combined capacity of 410 were overrun. Agents were forced to put some people in vehicle bays and other places in order to accommodate them.
In July, Congress approved legislation that allocated additional funds for humanitarian assistance. That allowed border officials in Yuma to erect as tent facility designed to house 500 additional people, receiving pressure on the sector’s detention facilities.
Now, agents in the Yuma sector are only arresting about 30 people per day, and that’s a busy shift. On Nov. 27, the detention facility only held 70 people, the Epoch Times reported.
“Just being able to patrol the border is the biggest thing,” Yuma Border Patrol agent Jose Garibay told the news outlet.
In May, fully half the sector’s border agents were busy transporting, processing, and looking after families and children, severely limiting the number available for patrol duty.
Garibay told the outlet that although the number of single adults from Mexico has been fewer than 10 percent of the apprehensions, among them were “a lot of murderers, child rapists, child molesters.”
“We were catching a lot of violent criminals and recidivists who were trying to come into the country and had been caught two, three, four, five times in the past,” he said.
“Many people claim that these people are running for their lives and they have no other choice,” said Garibay.
“It’s all economic. It’s the same type of reason that the people [have always come] here for, the only difference is that these individuals are bringing kids with them and using them as shields to pull the heartstrings of America and the rest of the world,” he added.
As for the drop in numbers, the agent credits the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) pushed by the Trump administration and Mexico’s deployment of its National Guard on its northern border.
Also known as “Remain in Mexico,” the MPP is an agreement between the United States and Mexico, under which those who cross the U.S. border illegally will likely be housed by Mexico, instead of being released into the United States while they await court proceedings, the Epoch Times reported.
The program does not apply to the entire U.S.-Mexico border as of yet, however. But in sections where it does apply, like Yuma, crossings are way down.
As such, smugglers are rerouting to those sectors.
“That was a huge deterrence for them, because it took away that 100 percent chance of them getting released into the country just because they have a child,” Garibay said.