Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly boasted in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the Trump administration's moves have "injected enough confusion" to deter illegal immigrants.
Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" if President Trump's tough rhetoric on illegal immigration had contributed to a drop in attempted border crossings, Kelly responded, "Absolutely."
He also pointed to "some of the other things we've done" on the U.S.-Mexico border, mentioning recent actions by himself and Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsDNC chairman slams Sessions for deportation comments Trump: Mexico will 'eventually' pay for border wall Becerra fires back: 'We're not in the business of deportation' MORE.
"They're just waiting to see what actually does happen," he said.
"The very, very, very good news is, for a lot of different reasons, the number of illegal aliens that are moving up from the south has dropped off precipitously."
U.S. officials have reported a sharp drop in the number of people attempting to cross the nation's southern border illegally since Trump took office in January.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that 16,600 individuals were apprehended or stopped from entering the U.S. from Mexico last month, a 64 percent decline from March 2016.
The number of individuals apprehended or stopped at ports of entry on the United States' southwest border has fallen in each of the last three months, according to DHS data.
Kelly told NBC that "the laws on the books are pretty straightforward — if you're here illegally, you should leave or you should be deported, put through the system."