After rising for much of last year, the number of undocumented immigrants caught crossing the United States' southern border dropped sharply for the second straight month.
About 24,000 border crossers were caught in February, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The 38 percent drop from February 2016 figures follows months that saw more crossings than almost any in the last five years.
More from NBC News:
Washington state wants restraining order applied to Trump's new travel ban
BREAKING: FBI director Comey asked Justice Dept. to reject Trump
Pres. Trump's trips to Florida coming at a cost for taxpayers, local businesses
The drop from the previous month was even starker. February saw 45 percent fewer border crossings than in January, when figures had already dropped by more than 24,000 from the October's peak of about 67,000.
The drops are sure to hearten of President Donald Trump's supporters, 79 percent of whom said in a July Pew Research Center poll that immigration was "very important" to their votes.
The Trump administration, which is engaged in battles over health care and a newly issued executive order restricting immigration from six majority Muslim nations, may also reap benefit from what looks like fast action on an issue dear to its base.
"The early results show that enforcement matters, deterrence matters, and that comprehensive immigration enforcement can make an impact," Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement. "We will remain vigilant to respond to any changes in these trends, as numbers of illegal crossings typically increase between March and May."
Last year, monthly crossing totals increased by about 9,000 between March and May.
Trump has made his stance on undocumented immigration clear. Since his inauguration Jan. 20, he has signed executive orders to hire 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents — despite having instituted a federal hiring freeze. On Trump's watch, ICE has ratcheted up deportations, continuing a trend that started under President Barack Obama.