The month of July saw a decrease in the number of apprehensions of unaccompanied minors and family units illegally crossing the southern border into the United States, according to new data released by the Department of Homeland Security.
In July, 5,508 unaccompanied minors and 7,410 adults with children were apprehended in what DHS is describing as a “significant decrease.”
By comparison, in June the government apprehended 10,628 unaccompanied minors and 16,330 adults with children illegally entering the U.S. through the southwest border.
“While the decrease in apprehensions in July is good news and reflects a positive trend that we hope continues, the current numbers are still higher than the number of apprehensions for children and adults with children during past years,” DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson said in a statement. “We continue to have much work to do to address this issue and our message continues to be clear–‘our border is not open to illegal migration.'”
“Unless you qualify for some form of humanitarian relief, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values,” Johnson added.
Johnson credited the administration’s “aggressive campaign” against illegal immigration into Texas and boosted of a decrease in removal time for unaccompanied adults down from 33 days to four days.
He further noted that the administration has built more detention space, upped the number of flights back to Central America to return illegal migrants, provided more resources for illegal immigrants in removal proceedings, worked Central American governments, and cracked down on human smugglers.
Since October, more than 62,900 unaccompanied minors have been detained illegally crossing into the the United States through the southwest border, the vast majority of whom have been from Central America.
Earlier this summer President Obama requested $3.7 billion to deal with the crisis — the Senate left for August recess unable to pass an agreement on the border supplemental, the House passed a border supplemental approving $694 million for the border crisis along with some alterations to the law.
In highlighting the reduced apprehensions, Johnson called on Congress to provide Obama’s request when they return from August recess.
“I was disappointed that Congress left for its August recess without acting on the President’s request for supplemental funding to support the men and women of this Department who have worked overtime to respond to the urgent situation,” he said. ‘I hope when Congress returns in September it will act quickly on the request.”
Johnson added that he is shifting funds to deal with the border crisis.
“In the meantime, to avoid running out of money, I have been left with no choice but to reprogram money away from other homeland security missions,” Johnson said. “In all, DHS is reprogramming $405 million away from other mission areas to support the response to this situation in the Rio Grande Valley. It is also forcing us to dial back some of the actions we intended to take to deal with the Rio Grande Valley.”
He added, “Given Congress’ failure to act, the Department is left with no good choices.”