Detentions of illegal aliens on the U.S.-Mexico border fell by almost half in fiscal year 2020 compared to 2019, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

A total of 400,651 aliens, mostly from Central American countries, were apprehended at ports of entry on the southern border in fiscal year 2020, which ended in September. That figure is markedly lower than that of fiscal year 2019, when 851,500 people were apprehended.

To keep individuals out of detention centers where the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus could spread, the Trump administration announced in March that border officials would immediately return illegals rather than formally apprehend and deport individuals.

Also, according to The Wall Street Journal, detentions began to decline shortly after the Trump administration imposed a policy that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their court cases.

In 2019, the Trump administration established the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, also known as Staying in Mexico, which states that if an immigrant enters the United States illegally or seeks asylum, and comes from Mexico, he or she can be returned to Mexico to wait for the corresponding dates from the U.S. immigration courts.

In an agreement signed between the two countries, Mexico committed to provide all appropriate humanitarian protections during the time they are in the country during the immigration proceedings.

Migrant Protection Protocol program 

This policy has proven to be very effective in alleviating the humanitarian crisis experienced for decades on the southern border of the United States.

CBP acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said that MPP “discourages the abuse and exploitation of U.S. laws and non-meritorious or false asylum claims.”

He added, “MPP also helps promote a safer and more orderly process along the southwest border, freeing up limited resources and helps free up the time of those implementing this process to devote to those migrants who may legitimately have a merit-based claim.”

“I want to make clear that the MPP has been a very successful program,” Morgan said in February of this year.

Morgan added that the MPP policy also serves to send a clear message to migrants and migrant caravans that travel thousands of kilometers to reach the United States.

“Our message is clear, don’t do it,” Morgan said. “Don’t risk your lives. Don’t risk the lives of your family because the game has changed,” he said.

The U.S. government also prohibited illegal aliens from applying for asylum unless they were denied protection in a country through which they passed en route to the United States. Thus, authorities have been sending asylum seekers to Central American nations as part of a border security agreement signed with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Recently, Guatemalan authorities warned some 2,000 people who were part of a caravan that left Honduras that they would be deported if they insisted on continuing their journey to Mexico (and later the United States). Eventually, the caravan was disbanded.