WASHINGTON (CBSLA.com/AP) — The head of Homeland Security says arrests of people entering the United States illegally across the Mexican border plummeted last month in a likely sign that fewer people are trying to sneak into the U.S.

John Kelly says in written testimony submitted to a Senate panel that fewer than 12,500 people were caught crossing the border last month. That compares with more than 58,000 that he says were detained in February. It’s the lowest monthly figure in at least 17 years.

Kelly says the decrease is “no accident” and credits President Donald Trump’s approach to illegal immigration. The Trump administration has not yet changed how the border is patrolled, but the president’s tough talk on immigration and arrests of immigrants living in the country illegally have likely acted as deterrents.

The announcement comes as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced steps the agency will take to further deter and detect work visa fraud and abuse, including more targeted site visits to work sites of employees under the H-1B visa program.

Federal officials also announced the establishment of an email address which allows both American workers and H-1B workers “who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B fraud or abuse” to submit tips, alleged violations and other tips to USCIS.

California lawmakers, meanwhile, gave initial approval Monday to a sanctuary state bill. The measure, a response to Trump administration policies, would create a sanctuary state to prevents law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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