AP  But Mittelstadt also emphasized that the figures are part of a larger trend that began long before Trump took office: the improvement of the economy and opportunities in the country have held back the wave of people who They cross the border to work.
really had a realignment in the migration from Mexico, "he said, noting that the number of Mexicans detained in 2017 fell by 34 percent from the previous year.
The decrease in border crossings continues a trend that began during the Obama administration, and marks a dramatic decline since 2000, when more than 1.6 million people were detained crossing the Southwest border alone.
In general, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service said that the deportations in last year they decreased 6 percent from the previous year, a number linked to the sharp decrease in border crossings, as well as a delay in the immigration courts that process deportations.
But that number masks a surprising increase in arrests These arrests have caused fear and anger in immigrant communities, where many fear that the government or is attacking them.
ICE said the number of "internal withdrawals" – people who were arrested outside the border – increased by 25 percent this year to 81,603. And the increase is 37 percent after Trump took office compared to the same period of the previous year.
"The president made it clear in his executive orders: There is no population off the table," Thomas Homan, interim director of ICE, told reporters in Washington on Tuesday. "If you're in this country illegally, we're looking for you and we're going to try to arrest you."
In February, former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who now serves as Trump's chief of staff, dismantled the Obama administration's policy to limit deportations to people who pose a threat to public safety, convicted criminals and those who crossed the border recently, which makes anyone in the country vulnerable to apprehension.
Trump campaigned like a hard-line immigrant, accusing Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to the US UU and promising to build "a great wall on our southern border." As president, he has signed a series of travel bans aimed at restricting who can enter the country, pushed to review the legal immigration system and tried to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to share information about illegal immigrants with the Federal authorities.
It has also promoted funding for its border wall.
The new numbers, which include the final months of the Obama administration, provide new ammunition to Trump's critics who question the need to spend billions of dollars on a border wall if the crossings are already falling. But the officials insisted that the wall was still needed.
"Yes, the traffic is low, that's a good thing," said Ronald Vitiello, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. But, "taking the 1,000 arrests a day to say we're done, it's not telling what the facts are, we still arrest nearly 1,000 people a day crossing the border," he said.
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi saw it differently.
"The administration can try to turn these numbers into whatever they want," he said. "But the fact is that after unprecedented investments in border security in the last decade, the border has become more difficult to cross and fewer people are trying."
Despite the general decrease in border detention, the numbers have increased every month since May and many of the detainees have been unaccompanied families and children.
The actual number of illegal border crossings is not known because many people enter undetected. The immigration authorities caught just over half of the people who entered the US illegally. UU From Mexico in 2015, according to a report commissioned by the Department of National Security. That is much lower than the success rate that DHS publicly cited.
South of the Arizona border in the Mexican town of Nogales, many of the deportees who were having breakfast in a dining room run by a nonprofit group on Monday were picked up in the United States far from the border.
"We are seeing many people who have established ties in the United States for a long time," said Joanna Foote Williams, director of education and advocacy for the Kino Border Initiative, with about 40 men and some women eating eggs, beans refritos and tortillas.