Illegal US border crossings drop for 8th straight month


Critics say smuggling groups are focusing on smuggling drugs now instead of people

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Trump administration says its policies are working to deter migrants from coming to the U.S. border.

Critics say those policies endanger the lives of asylum seekers as smuggling organizations turn to smuggling meth into the United States instead of people.

“Our focused effort to address the flow of illegal immigration from the Northern Triangle countries has been incredibly successful,” said Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Morgan said the number of people arriving at the U.S. border has dropped for eight straight months.

“In January, 36,679 illegal immigrants were encountered on the southwest border. That’s 75 percent less than the peak in May and 37 percent lower than this time last year,” he said.

The Trump administration attributes the decrease to the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, also known as Remain in Mexico. But human rights organizations widely criticize the policy for endangering the lives of asylum seekers.

A new study by Doctors Without Borders found that “Central American asylum seekers in Mexico are particular targets for kidnapping and violence. Congress is now investigating that policy.

Due to the decrease in migrants traveling to the U.S. border, Morgan says smuggling organizations are turning to increase drug-smuggling.

“This year the meth seizures are up 51 percent from last year,” Morgan said, adding that the Trump administration is responding by continuing its commitment to building the border wall.

However, Congressional Democrats say walls don’t work, pointing to the sophisticated smuggling tunnel under the border discovered just last month.

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The mission of is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.