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Illegal immigration dropped 80 percent in El Paso due to border wall, border chief says

Border Patrol agent Rene Cisneros frisks Tom de Huachac, 33, who allegedly entered the US illegally. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
February 28, 2020

Illegal immigration in one area of Texas has dropped more than 80 percent thanks to the new border wall system that includes multiple layers of fencing, roads, lights, and extra personnel, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan told Congress on Thursday.

Speaking at the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, Morgan said, “We’ve seen apprehensions and illegal entries and gotaways all being reduced by over 80% in that 20-mile stretch,” referring to a portion of the wall near El Paso, Texas.

Morgan raised the claim in his reply to Rep. Kay Granger’s question about the effectiveness of the wall. Watch their exchange in the video below at approximately 36:10:

Morgan said the new system allows border agents to spot where illegal entries happen faster and make arrests or force the illegal immigrants to retreat back to Mexico.

President Donald Trump’s signature campaign promise was building the wall on the southern border. So far, only 109 miles have been constructed and almost half of that — 55 miles — has been replacement fencing, The Washington Times reported.

Some critics question the effectiveness of the wall, which border officials have frequently had to dismiss as inaccurate.

“It’s not that it’s impenetrable. But it does deny and impede long enough for Border Patrol agents to actually get there to do the apprehension and interdiction. And it works,” Morgan said.

The Trump administration is requesting $2 billion for additional wall funding for the 2021 fiscal year. Trump has also allocated $10 billion from the Pentagon into building the wall for the past two years.

Illegal crossings into the United States from the southern border have drastically reduced due to the increased security measures President Trump has taken, as well as deals he’s struck with Central American countries, where a significant portion of illegal immigrants originates.

Under the “Remain in Mexico” program, which the Trump administration initiated at the end of 2018, would-be illegal immigrants are kept in Mexico while their asylum claims are evaluated.

That policy reduced the number of illegal crossings by 70 percent from May to September 2019.

“This is an unprecedented achievement,” Morgan said at the time he announced the dramatic reduction.

And although the border wall has proven to reduce illegal crossings, the current immigration court system has ben less than effective at deporting illegals, thanks in part to the rising number of localities and states passing sanctuary city laws which protects criminal illegal aliens form deportation.

According to an academic study from Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there could be at least 22.1 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Although illegal immigration is down, “the crisis is far from over,” Morgan wrote in on Twitter on Thursday.