Border patrol agents in Mission, Texas, said the number of undocumented immigrants crossing into the U.S. within the past two weeks is waning — but the decline is a recent observation, and they aren't sure if it will last. In the beginning of July, agents were apprehending upwards of 1,400 people a day, but in mid-July, the number has dropped to about 1,000, Raul Ortiz, deputy chief of the Rio Grande Border Patrol Sector, told NBC News.
The decrease can most likely be attributed to dynamics at play on both sides of the border, Ortiz said. While border patrol officers usually see a 10 percent decrease in immigration in July, he said, this month also followed a June "deadline" that people crossing from Central America thought they had to make in order to stay in the U.S. legally. That supposed benefit was false. The rumors were spread by cartels, looking to make money by ushering people into America through Mexico. Messages from the Department of Human Services warning people of the dangers of the journey have also seemed to discourage some from making the trip, Ortiz said. He also credited the 3,000 border patrol officers on the force. "We're becoming more effective at how we secure the border," he said.
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— Mark Potter and Elisha Fieldstadt