The White House expressed surprise over the spike in unaccompanied minors and families crossing the border from Mexico in August. Officials downplayed the numbers as “far below” last year’s peak.
“We have seen, just in the last month, in the month of August, a surprising uptick,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during a briefing, according to The Hill. He said this was an unusual surge because the numbers of unaccompanied minors usually decreases during the heat of the South Texas summer.
“That is something that is concerning,” Earnest said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials reported that 4,600 unaccompanied minors and 5,000 adults with children were captured crossing the border from Mexico into the United States, according to a CNN report.
While this is a large number of people being captured, it is down significantly from the peak of last summer when officials reported the capture of 10,000 unaccompanied minors and 16,000 adults with children per month. Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby released leaked photographs in June, 2014 showing large numbers of children at facilities not designed to hold such numbers.
“Total apprehensions across our entire Southwest border remain at near-historic lows,” the Customs and Border Protection agency told CNN.
Breitbart News’ Caroline May reported at the end of June that officials predicted the numbers of children and adults with children would fall from last year. However, the number was predicted at that time to be the second highest year on record.
The administration has also been granting asylum to the unaccompanied minors, rather than running them through the immigration courts. May reported in August that the number of asylums granted skyrocketed 4,100 percent when compared to the 2013 reports. A senate aide noted in an email to Breitbart that the approvals stemmed not just from the border surge. The aide indicated it resulted from a more lenient administration.
The month of May saw 128 unaccompanied minors per day crossing into the United States, according to a Breitbart News article, again by Caroline May.
Part of the reason the numbers of illegal crossings by unaccompanied minors and adults traveling with children is lower than 2014 could be because of a new program the Obama Administration offers to qualifying children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The program allows qualified children from these countries to fly directly into the United States as refugees or parolees.
“In effect, the President’s answer to the ongoing run on the border is to order government officials to transport many of those same individuals from Central America into the U.S. with lawful paperwork and guaranteed access to federal benefits,” Senator Jeff Sessions said about the program earlier this year.
This uptick in illegal crossings by unaccompanied minors and adults with children focuses not just on the Rio Grande Valley Sector of the Texas/Mexico border. The desert-like climate of the Texas Big Bend and Yuma, Arizona, witnessed a massive increase in the rates of crossings, according to a UPI report on Tuesday. Unaccompanied minor crossings in those two sectors rose by 251 and 177 percent respectively. Yuma also reported an increase of family crossings of 130 percent. These areas were among the lowest with reported captures during the 2014 surge.
“There is no family that should even contemplate putting a young child in the hands of a human trafficker in response to promises that that person can get their child into the United States,” Josh Earnest said from the White House. “That journey is dangerous, and those human traffickers all too often aren’t able to deliver. And part of that is because this administration has been cracking down on human traffickers.”
Bob Price serves as senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.