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Illegal immigrant apprehensions spike 674% in May compared to last year

Migrants who crossed illegally into the U.S. wait to board a bus to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on June 2, 2021, in La Joya, Texas. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
June 11, 2021

Illegal immigrant apprehensions along the United States-Mexico border spiked 674 percent in May when compared to the same period last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) statistics released Wednesday.

CBP encountered 180,034 immigrants attempting to cross the border illegally in May, compared to just 23,237 in May 2020, with the majority being single adults. The border agency expelled 112,302 individuals last month, totaling 62 percent of all May encounters.

Encounters with unaccompanied children and single minors from the Northern Triangle dipped by 23 percent in May with 10,765 compared to 13,940 in April. Encounters with family units also dropped by 31 percent from 32,674 in April to 22,630 in May.

According to the CBP, the number of life-saving rescues jumped last month as criminal organizations increasingly abandon illegal immigrants in dangerous areas.

“Smuggling organizations are abandoning migrants in remote and dangerous areas, leading to a dramatic rise in the number of rescues CBP performs,” the agency stated. I”n May 2021, CBP conducted 7,084 rescues nationwide, and CBP has rescued 35 percent more individuals in Fiscal Year 2021 than all of Fiscal Year 2020.”

Drug seizures also increased in May, including methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl.

“CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and Air and Marine Operations agents continue to interdict the flow of illicit narcotics across the border. Nationwide, drug seizures were up 18 percent in May from April 2021,” the CBP said. “Cocaine interceptions decreased 18 percent. Seizures of methamphetamine increased 53 percent. Seizures of heroin increased 7 percent and seizures of fentanyl increased 9 percent. CBP continues to see a surge in fentanyl seizures. Seizures in Fiscal Year 2021 through May are 56 percent higher than all of Fiscal Year 2020.”

The average daily number of children in CBP custody dropped from 2,895 in April to 640 in May. The CBP said unaccompanied illegal immigrant children spent an average of 92 hours in agency facilities in April, while they spent an average of 26 hours in CBP custody in May.

“This sustained progress is a result of the steps [Department of Homeland Security] took to reengineer processes and mobilize personnel Department-wide, including designating [Federal Emergency Management Agency] to lead a whole of government effort to assist the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with establishing temporary facilities that provide a safe, sanitary, and secure environment for unaccompanied children as well as detailing to [the Department of Health and Human Services] more than 350 officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to more efficiently and effectively verify claimed sponsors to support the reunification process,” the agency wrote regarding the decreasing number of children in CBP custody.