San Diego

Illegal Border Crossings Have Been in Decline for Years

The apprehensions of undocumented immigrants has been declining for over a decade

Illegal border crossings along the southern border are dropping.

President Donald Trump says it's thanks to his administration but the numbers show otherwise.

The apprehensions of undocumented immigrants has been declining for over a decade.

On Sunday, the President tweeted: "General Kelly is doing a great job at the border. Numbers are way down. Many are not even trying to come in anymore."

Stopping illegal immigration may have been a signature promise of President Trump, but experts said the decline in numbers is part of an ongoing trend that began years before Trump took office.

“Most immigrants aren't trying to cross the land border anyways,” said Ev Meade, Director of the Trans-border Institute at the University of San Diego (USD). “Usually what they do is overstay their visas.”

Illegal immigration peaked in the mid 80's and then again in the year 2000.

That's when roughly 1.6 million undocumented immigrants were detained.

The number of apprehensions has been in decline every since, according to data provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

In 2016, about 415,0000 undocumented immigrants were apprehended.

“There's been a lot of talk about hiring new border patrol agents, but nothing new has happened there yet,” said Meade. “There are no new boots on the ground, so this administration can't really take credit for the drop.”

Currently the majority of undocumented immigrants are from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Immigration from Mexico, has been declining for years.

“Mexican migrants are not coming in large numbers to the U.S anymore,” said Meade. “In fact, net migration is negative, meaning more Mexicans are returning to Mexico than are coming to the United Sates.”

It may be too soon to tell if the "Trump Effect" is having a real impact along the border, but downtown resident, Peter Jones said he appreciates that President Trump is unapologetic discussing the topic.

“The question is, are we a nation of laws and do we want to enforce the law,” Jones told NBC 7. “We can't selectively enforce laws or not enforce laws, that doesn't work. It's something that needs to be talked about.

Matthew Mendenhall worked in federal court for 25 years. The Clairemont resident said Trump's approach doesn't make sense.

“There is no reason to build a wall, immigration has been declining,” said Mendenhall. “It's a shameful disgrace.”

As the debate over immigration continues across the country, companies hoping to design or build the border wall are getting ready for the bidding process. On Wednesday the federal government will study prototypes of the new border wall, before it selects its finalists.

The estimated cost for the border wall is $20 billion.

Contact Us