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Migrant apprehensions at US Southwest border increase for fifth-straight month

U.S Border Patrol agents in Florida. (John Gibbins/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
October 18, 2020

Nearly 55,000 individuals were apprehended for illegally crossing the Southwest border in September, marking the fifth month in a row of increased apprehensions.

According to the FY2020 Southwest Border Migration Report, September saw 54, 771 individuals apprehended between ports of entry on the United States’ Southwest border.

September’s number is a nearly 16 percent increase from August’s 47,283 migrant arrests. This number has continued to climb since April when just 16,182 migrants were caught at the border.

Between October 2019 and September 2020, 400,651 individuals were arrested by Border Patrol agents. This fiscal year’s total is a 53 percent drop from fiscal year 2019’s total when 851,508 arrests were made.

According to Breitbart, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan attributes the dramatic drop in apprehensions between FY19 and FY20 to the Trump Administration’s plans and programs.

Among these programs and plans is the recently-constructed 360-mile border wall, as well as programs incorporating Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The Trump Administration also implemented the Migrant Protection Protocol to work in conjunction with Mexico’s creation of a National Guard that focused on illegal immigration. These two moves helped lead to a 70 percent decrease in apprehensions from a high of 92,833 in March 2019 to 29,205 in January 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the mission of the Border Patrol from border security to public health safety. Coronavirus protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control lead to 90 percent of migrants being returned to Mexico or Canada within two hours of apprehension between ports of entry.

Morgan also noted a shift in migrant demographics illegally crossing the border that occurred after the Catch and Release programs ended. What was once mostly family units from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras illegally crossing the border became single adults almost exclusively from Mexico.

According to the CBP report, in FY2020, 30,557 unaccompanied children, 52,230 family units and 317,864 single adults were apprehended for illegally crossing the border.

“Single adult males from Mexico accounted for 56 percent of migrants encountered this year, a significant change from FY19, when 64 percent of the encounters were individuals from the Northern Triangle countries,” CBP officials said in a statement released earlier this week. “Overall, single adults accounted for 77 percent of the total encounters this year, compared to 38 percent last year.”

In FY2020, CBP officers and agents rescued over 5,255 individuals in a variety of circumstances, and will continue to be ready to provide lifesaving support to anyone who needs it.

Border Patrol also continues to intercept narcotics crossing the border. Officers and agents seized almost 830,000 pounds of drugs in FY2020.