July 10 (UPI) — Arrests at the southwestern border dropped 28 percent in June from the month previous, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday, crediting the decline to moves made by Mexico to stem the flow of migrants reaching the U.S. border.
The department said in a statement that it made 104,344 arrests in June compared to 144,278 in May, which also represents an 11 percent decline from the same period last year.
All demographics experienced the decline as well as citizens from Northern Triangle countries, particularly from Guatemala, the statement said.
“Decreasing apprehension numbers will provide greater opportunities for the DHS to address capacity challenges for those in custody and speed the movement of unaccompanied children into Health and Human Services care,” it said.
Early last month under threat of a 5 percent tariff imposed on all imported goods from Mexico, the United State’s southern neighbor agreed to stem the influx of Central American migrants reaching the U.S. border.
Mexico said it has deployed over 1,000 migrant agents to its borders to verify visas of non-Mexicans traveling through the country.
DHS said in the statement that since the agreement was made, there has been “a substantial increase in the number of interdictions on the Mexican southern border.”
The department said despite the one-month decline, U.S. Border Patrol arrested 688,375 people in 2019, a 140 percent increase from the same period last year.
“We are past the breaking point and in a full-blown emergency,” DHS acting secretary Kevin McAleenan said. “This is not acceptable to any of us.”
The announcement comes as DHS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have been under increasing scrutiny concerning the treatment of migrants at detention centers, particularly following the revelation of a Facebook group containing almost 5,000 former and current border agents, some of whom posted derogatory, racist and sexist comments concerning detainees and Latino members of Congress.