Apprehensions of illegal immigrants — an indicator of attempted entries — at the southern border continued to rise last month, hitting the highest level so far this fiscal year.
According to recently released Customs and Border Patrol data, CBP made 38,135 apprehensions during the month of April, more than any single month in two years. The increases come as the Obama administration says it is working to reduce the flow of migrants from south of the border.
The number of unaccompanied minors and “family units” (adults traveling with minors) also rose, with CBP apprehending 5,219 unaccompanied minors and 5,616 “family” members last month.
The recent numbers have experts and officials concerned that this fiscal year could rival and even exceed FY 2014’s record-breaking level of unaccompanied minor and “family unit” entries, when more than 68,541 minors and 68,445 “families” were apprehended at the southern border.
This fiscal year through April the total apprehensions of unaccompanied minors — 32,952 — represent a 25 percent increase compared to the same timeframe in FY 2014. Likewise the total apprehensions this fiscal year to date of “family units” — 37,732 — compared to the same period of time in FY 2014 represents a four percent increase.
The Obama administration has embarked on media campaigns and efforts in the Central American countries — from where much of the illegal migration stems — seeking to reduce the influx. The administration has even moved to remove a few of the illegal migrants who have been ordered to be removed.
Despite the administration’s rhetoric, that the country’s “borders are not open to illegal migration” the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants — largely from Central America — who are apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border have been released into the U.S. and allowed to remain indefinitely, ostensibly awaiting immigration hearings.
Last week, Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, testified before a Senate panel that at least 80 percent of the illegal immigrants CBP apprehends at the border are released into the U.S.
“In essence we are just letting them come into the United States,” Judd said.
According the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, over the past 2.5 years just 3.6 percent of the “unaccompanied children” apprehended illegally entering the U.S. have been deported back to their home countries.
While immigration activists and Democrats argue that “push factors” in Central America are fueling the migration north, immigration hawks and Republicans point to the Obama administration’s failure to enforce immigration law, policies like catch-and-release at the border, and executive amnesty as enticements for illegal immigration to the U.S.