Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli said Wednesday that new statistics on border apprehensions in June show progress is being made, but cautioned that the system is still in "crisis mode."
The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that apprehensions at the southwest border plummeted in June after the Mexican government agreed early in the month -- under the threat of punishing U.S. tariffs -- to dramatically step up its own immigration enforcement efforts.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data showed a 28 percent drop in apprehensions from May, when 144,278 individuals were detained. Although some analysts blamed the "summer heat" for part of the new decline, the Trump administration noted in a statement that the decline in apprehensions "outpaces last year’s decline by 11 percent" in the same period.
Cuccinelli said on "Fox & Friends" that the situation went from "calamity" in May to "near disaster" in June, since the overall number remains above 100,000.
"Understand, that's still the third highest month in I don't know how many years. The last bit of data I looked at goes back to 2012. So we are still in crisis mode," he explained.
"There's no question the president's handling of foreign policy, in particular with Mexico and the Northern Triangle, is helping to make a difference here."
Cuccinelli said Mexico "is now a better partner than they have been in recent memory" and he predicted the Northern Triangle countries will follow suit. He said, however, that the problems will not be solved in the long term until Congress comes together to address the incentives -- such as asylum laws -- that are causing migrants to come to the border "in droves."