Illegal Border Crossings Plateau in May

June 8, 2018 Updated: June 8, 2018

WASHINGTON—The number of apprehensions of illegal border crossers along the southwest border has somewhat plateaued in the last three months after a dramatic surge at the beginning of the year.

New data for May shows that just over 40,000 individuals were arrested by Border Patrol, a 1.9 percent increase over April (38,278), but a 160 percent increase from May 2017, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Compared to the previous 5 months of May, the numbers are higher than all but May 2014 and May 2016. 

The number of family units (at least one parent and one child) is still high, with almost 9,500 apprehended after illegally crossing during May. That number has almost doubled since last October when 4,800 family unit members crossed.

The number of family units increased by 435 percent and the number of unaccompanied children increased by 329 percent compared to May 2017, according to CBP.

May is the first full month that the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy has been in effect—all adults crossing the border illegally are now referred for prosecution.

Total Border Patrol Apprehensions, Per Fiscal Year

2017: 303,916
2016: 408,870
2015: 331,333
2014: 479,371


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