The number of unaccompanied minors flooding across the Texas border from Central American has fallen by nearly half between June and July, and the number of adults crossing into the U.S. with a child in tow has fallen by more than that, according to figures provided to Newsradio 1200 WOAI by the Department of Homeland Security.
In June, for example, 16,330 adults with children flooded into the U.S., the vast majority of them from Central America. In July that number had fallen to 7400, and the Border Patrol says the reduction is continuing, with far fewer being see in the first week of August.
"We have surged resources and put in place an aggressive campaign to counter the rise of illegal migration into the Rio Grande Valley," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.
It is due to this drop in illegal immigration entries that the feds made the decision to close the center for unaccompanied children at Lackland Air Force Base.
Officials credit several factors for the drop in the flood of illegal immigrants.
First, officials say the 'removal time' for many unaccompanied adults has fallen from 33 days to four days, meaning they are being deported almost immediately upon arrival in the U.S.
The Border Patrol says the opening of the huge detention center outside Karnes City last week to house adults with children is clearly sending the message that a trip from Honduras into the U.S. will turn into a round trip, because the U.S. is not simply 'releasing' adults with children, they are processing them for deportation, generally within 20 days of their arrival.
Despite all sorts of theories being floated about the cause of the flood of unaccompanied children and adults with children, the Border Patrol and other officials agree that the number one cause has been lies spread by Mexican drug cartels in crime and gang ravaged Central America that any adult who arrives in the U.S. with a child in tow will receive what the smuggling gangs call a 'permiso,' a non existent card granting both the adult and the child 'permission' to remain in the U.S. indefinitely.
Experts say the Mexican cartels are seeing their once lucrative drug smuggling business shrinking due to tighter U.S. border security and the threat of drug legalization, and see immigrant smuggling as a way to make up that lost revenue.
The average Honduran family borrows between $2,000 and $5,000 per person to be smuggled into the U.S. by a cartel, with many of the immigrants raped, force to work as slave labor, or killed on the way.
Johnson says those gangs are job number one for Homeland Security.
"On July 22, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole and I announced 'Operation Coyote,' to crack down on the criminal smuggling organizations that operate in the Rio Grande Valley," Johnson said.
Johnson says the Obama Administration recognizes that even the lower numbers of migrants are still too high, but the message is successfully getting back to Central America.
"Unless you qualify for some form of humanitarian relief, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values."