U.S. Customs and Border Protection data released Thursday shows that apprehensions of unauthorized people crossing the Southwest border were down in June, NBC News reported.
The fiscal year-to-date total for people allegedly caught crossing without authorization is 286,290, officials said. The data also seem to call into question the Trump administration's warnings about a surge in Central American families at the border.
The Trump administration argued that its relatively new zero tolerance policy on undocumented immigrants, which included the short-lived practice of separating children from their parents at the border, is dissuading them from coming north. Experts say, however, that the decline is not a direct result of the Trump administration's actions. They say numbers have been falling for years.
"The long-term pattern is clear — fewer and fewer unauthorized migrants have been trying to enter the U.S. for more than 15 years — and it's mostly the product of larger macro-economic trends, not short-term changes in immigration policy or political rhetoric," Everard Meade, director of the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute, said.