The number of children arriving at the border unaccompanied has dropped sharply so far this month, according to preliminary data released by the White House.
The number of unaccompanied minors picked up by Border Patrol agents in the first two weeks fell to about 150 per day, down from an average of 355 per day in June, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.
Earnest said White House officials believe the decline in the number of young migrants was the result of several factors, including a typical seasonal drop in border crossing during harsh summer conditions.
“We do believe that the administration’s response and efforts to work with Central American leaders to publicize the dangers of the journey and reinforce that apprehended migrants are ultimately returned to their home countries, in keeping with the law, as well as seasonal flows, have all played a part,” he said.
Earnest also said that as of Monday afternoon, the White House had not formally received notice from Texas officials of Gov. Rick Perry’s effort to send Texas National Guard forces to the border region.
The move was expected to be a topic of conversation at a meeting of the president’s Homeland Security Council later in the day, Earnest said.
The White House dismissed Perry’s plans as an attempt to “generate headlines.”
Government officials have said they believe the vast majority of unaccompanied minors are already being picked up by Border Patrol agents, so sending more security forces to the border would accomplish little.
“Gov. Perry has referred repeatedly to his desire to make a symbolic statement to the people of Central America that the border is closed, and he thinks that the best way to do that is to send a thousand National Guard troops to the border,” Earnest said.
“It seems to me that a much more powerful symbol would be the bipartisan passage of legislation that would actually make a historic investment in border security and send an additional 20,000 personnel to the border."