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>> The number of women and children caught trying to cross the US southern border illegally hitting a record low this month after a Trump administration proposal, which was first reported by Reuters, threatened to separate immigrant mothers from their children. But the Department of Homeland Security never followed through on that threat.
And as Reuters correspondent Julia Edwards Ainsley has exclusively reported, that may have been part of the strategy all along.>> A team of senior Republican advisors were able to come up with a series of deterrents, such as separating women from their children at the border, that, without even implementing, they were able to seriously bring down the number of women and children even attempting to cross the border.
So in a way last week they were able to see that they won the war on deterring mothers and children without even firing a shot.>> According to Central American government officials, news that the US was considering separating women and children have had a chilling effect on people thinking about making the journey with their young ones.
And Edwards Ainsley says that saves the Trump administration from having to face the legal challenges and public backlash that would have very likely followed, as it did with Trump's travel ban.>> What's interesting to see about the rhetoric that the Trump administration uses versus the way it plays out is that in a lot of ways they announce things that would be logistically very difficult or legally difficult to carry out.
Separating women and children would be one of those. And you can apply that same logic to things that Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed from the border this week, saying that US prosecutors needed to focus on criminally charging immigrants, and prioritize those cases. So we're seeing, as time plays out, that a lot of the tactics that the Trump administration is using to deter immigrants might not actually have the teeth that a lot of people expected them to have.
>> But even without those teeth, the Trump administration at the moment is seeing results from its hardline proposals. Showing that at least, in this case, the bark can sometimes have just as much impact as the bite.