In recent years under the Obama administration, there was a solid pipeline of illegal immigrants coming in from Central America. Why, it got so bad that Mexico had to build a wall on their Southern border just like Mexico complains about Trump building. But that’s just not the case anymore. They have gotten the word that President Trump was serious about patrolling the borders and deportations. No one wants to pay a smuggler 12 grand just to be deported.
His bags were packed, and the smuggler was ready. If all went well, Eswin Josué Fuentes figured he and his 10-year-old daughter would slip into the United States within days.
Then, the night before he planned to leave, he had a phone conversation with a Honduran friend living illegally in New York. Under President Trump, the friend warned, the United States was no longer a place for undocumented migrants.
Shaken, Mr. Fuentes abruptly ditched his plans in May and decided to stay here in Honduras, despite its unrelenting violence and poverty. He even passed up the $12,000 in smuggler fees that his sister in the United States had lined up for the journey.
“I got scared of what’s happening there,” Mr. Fuentes said.
While some of Mr. Trump’s most ambitious plans to tighten the border are still a long way off, particularly his campaign pledge to build a massive wall, his hard-line approach to immigration already seems to have led to sharp declines in the flow of migrants from Central America bound for the United States.
From February through May, the number of undocumented immigrants stopped or caught along the southwest border of the United States fell 60 percent from the same period last year, according to United States Customs and Border Protection — evidence that far fewer migrants are heading north, officials on both sides of the border say.