Southern Border Apprehensions Fall for 5th Straight Month

Fall in numbers despite Congress inaction, says CBP Commissioner
November 15, 2019 Updated: November 15, 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan announced Thursday that the number of apprehensions and inadmissible cases along the Southwest border fell again in October to a total of 45,250—down 14 percent from September. This was the fifth consecutive month that apprehensions have fallen, with arrests down 68 percent from a peak of 133,000 in May.

Southwest border migration for the Financial Year 2020. (Photo: U.S. Customs & Border Protection)

“This Administration has implemented critical policies and reached important agreements with our partners in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala that have resulted in the fifth consecutive month of reduced apprehensions on the Southwest border,” said Morgan. He said that while the results were positive, “Congress must pass meaningful legislation to stop the exploitation of vulnerable families and children, and bring integrity back to our broken immigration system.”

In a press briefing at the White House, Morgan decried the lack of action taken by Congress as the immigration crisis worsened in 2019.

“Earlier this year, we sounded alarm … with respect to the border crisis, and asking Congress repeatedly to act to fix the loopholes in our broken immigration system and close the gaps driving this crisis,” he said. “Unfortunately, not a single piece of meaningful legislation had been brought forward, and as a result, this country stood by and watched as the crisis worsened as we reached our peak in May of over 140,000 apprehensions in a single month.”

According to a CBP press release, the arrest statistics defied typical seasonal trends for October, the first month of fiscal year 2020. Enforcement actions declined in October for the first time in seven years.

The number of inadmissible aliens at U.S. ports of entry declined by 19 percent, while there was a 12 percent decline in Border Patrol apprehensions.

In the course of its work, the CBP seized more than 47,000 pounds of drugs on the U.S.-Mexico border last month, some 50 percent more than was intercepted in the same month last year. According to the CBP, seizures of methamphetamine in October totaled more than 9,200 pounds—double the amount seized in October 2018. Furthermore, Fentanyl seizures on the Southwest border totaled 225 pounds, or 48 percent more than CBP intercepted in October 2018.

CBP enforcement data also describes the demographics of the border crisis, including that more than 2,848 unaccompanied children (0-17 years) have been apprehended in the year to date.

Most unaccompanied children in fiscal year 2019 hailed from Guatemala, followed by Honduras and El Salvador. The majority of family units in FY 2019 came from Honduras, which was just ahead of the total for Guatemala. The vast majority of single-adult apprehensions in that period came from Mexico, however.

To staunch the flow of illegal immigrants, the Trump Administration has initiated rules that have made it impossible for individuals that have lived in or passed through a third country to apply for asylum in the United States.

Morgan alluded to this when he described how the demographics have changed, with less illegal entrants hailing from Central America and a greater share coming from Mexico. “For the first time in nearly 18 months, Mexico was the country of origin for the majority of apprehensions and inadmissible aliens, rather than Northern Triangle countries, with single adults surpassing families,” he said.

The CNN Wire Service contributed to this article.

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