US-Mexico Border Fence Impacts Borderlands Environment
David McNew, Getty Images

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — The first months of the new administration have seen a huge drop in the number of people being caught by agents on the U.S.-Mexico border, raising the possibility that a "Trump effect" is keeping migrants away.

Fewer than 12,500 people were caught at the southern border in March, the lowest monthly figure in at least 17 years and the second straight month that border arrests dropped sharply.

While the Trump administration has sought to take credit for that decline, those working in shelters and experts on migration say it will take several more months to judge whether any drop-off is lasting, and that the numbers could surge again as quickly as they've fallen.

Several shelters are reporting a fraction of the traffic they were getting last year.

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