McALLEN, Texas (AP) -- Fewer unaccompanied immigrant children are crossing the Texas-Mexico border, allowing the federal government to close the temporary shelters that it hurriedly opened to handle the surge, authorities say.<br />
Arrests in South Texas have fallen in recent weeks to about 100 per day, down from 300 or more in June, according to the Border Patrol. The decline could be the result of searing summer temperatures or a messaging campaign in both the U.S. and the migrants' home countries that stresses the dangers of the journey and warns them they will not be allowed to stay.<br />
Officials on the border are careful not to suggest that the crisis has passed. When temperatures subside, they say, children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador could be back in greater numbers.<br />
The White House has shied away from taking credit for the decrease, which gives the administration more time to deal with the crush of immigrants who have already arrived.<br />
This week, the federal agency charged with housing the children announced it would soon suspend operations at three temporary shelters with a total of about 3,000 beds. Government officials said the existing network of federally contracted shelters would suffice, at least for now. The shelters could reopen later, if needed.<br />
More than 57,000 unaccompanied children entered the U.S. illegally from October to June, more than double the number from the same period a year earlier. Another 55,000 families - mothers or fathers with young children - were arrested during that period, and they remain a presence in shelters across the Rio Grande in Mexico.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
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