(by Andrew V. Pestano, UPI) — U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said there was a 40 percent decrease in illegal crossings from Mexico into the United States from January to February.
Citing data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Kelly said the “unprecedented decline in traffic” — which is measured by the apprehension and the prevention of entry of people illegally entering the United States — “shows a marked change in trends” since President Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, particularly since he took office.
“Since the administration’s implementation of executive orders to enforce immigration laws, apprehensions and inadmissible activity is trending toward the lowest monthly total in at least the last five years,” Kelly wrote in a statement on Wednesday. “This change in the trend line is especially significant because CBP historically sees a 10-20 percent increase in apprehensions of illegal immigrants from January to February. Instead, this year we saw a drop from 31,578 to 18,762 persons — a 40 percent decline.”
On Jan. 25, Trump signed an executive order to strip federal grant money from so-called “sanctuary cities” — U.S. municipalities that protect undocumented immigrants from federal prosecution. Trump’s order also seeks to hire 10,000 additional immigration officers, to build more detention centers and to prioritize undocumented immigrants for deportation.
Kelly also said that due to changes in U.S. policy, “coyotes” — human smugglers hired to traffic people into the United States — have also increased their fees by about 130 percent, from $3,500 to $8,000. The higher price means fewer immigrants will likely pay to cross illegally, Kelly suggested.
“The decrease is also encouraging news because it means many fewer people are putting themselves and their families at risk of exploitation, assault and injury by human traffickers and the physical dangers of the treacherous journey north,” Kelly wrote.
Kelly this week said his agency is considering separating undocumented children from their parents if caught illegally crossing the border. [He explained that the primary objective of separating children from adults is to discourage further illegal entry via dangerous smuggling networks.
“Yes I’m considering [that] in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network,” Kelly told CNN. “I am considering exactly that. They will be well cared for as we deal with their parents. It is more important to me … to try to keep people off of this awful network.” (see video clip under “Resources” below)
Secretary Kelly began implementing the immigration enforcement changes ordered by President Trump on Tuesday, February 21. Of note: the changes exclude “dreamers” – illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and others who had been given a reprieve in 2014.]
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BEFORE answering the questions, read the “Background” and watch the videos under “Resources” below.
1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)
2. How is the number of illegal border crossings from Mexico measured?
3. To what does Secretary Kelly attribute the decrease in illegal border crossings?
4. Why is the marked decrease in illegal border crossings significant?
5. a) What are coyotes?
b) Why does Secretary Kelly say the decrease in the number of people crossing the border is encouraging news? (What dangers do people face in paying a coyote to smuggle them into the U.S.?)
6. a) For what reason did Secretary Kelly say he would consider separating undocumented children from their parents if caught illegally crossing the border into the U.S.?
b) Watch the videos under “Resources” below. The media unsurprisingly portrays the consideration of this policy as inhumane. After hearing Secretary Kelly’s explanation, do you think it could be actually a compassionate policy? Explain your answer.
Read the text of President Trump’s executive order: “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.”
a) On what authority does President Trump issue these orders?
b) List the reasons he gives for the necessity of building a wall/securing the border.
c) How does this explanation differ from news reports about this issue?
d) Do the actions President Trump authorizes in this order make Americans more safe or less safe? Explain your answer.
e) Ask a parent the same questions. Discuss your answers.
On President Trump’s order to enforce federal immigration law: (from a Feb. 27 “Daily News Article“)
On Feb. 21, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly began implementation a host of immigration enforcement changes ordered by President Trump, directing agency heads [including Border Patrol and ICE] to hire thousands more officers, end so-called “catch-and-release” policies and begin work on the president’s promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“It is in the national interest of the United States to prevent criminals and criminal organizations from destabilizing border security,” Kelly wrote in one of two memos released Tuesday by the department.
The changes exclude “dreamers” (illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children) and others given a reprieve in 2014. But outside those exemptions, Kelly wrote that DHS “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”
A DHS official said the agencies are “going back to our traditional roots” on enforcement.
The memos cover a set of initiatives including:
Visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for more information.
Watch a Fox News report:
Watch a CNN interview with Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly: