McALLEN, Texas — Reports by many news outlets about the number of apprehensions of illegal border crossers in January are providing a misleading picture. Figures for January are reported to be down from the previous month. However, when comparing January 2017 to the prior year, the apprehensions are up significantly.
On Tuesday night, KRGV aired a story reporting a ride along with a local constable deputy from Hidalgo County. The report, titled “Hidalgo Co. Deputies Notice Less Activity in illegal Immigration Hot Spots” tells the story of a local deputy who patrols a border area as part of a federal grant. He claims to be seeing less activity in Anzalduas Park, a high traffic area known for illegal border crossings.
The local lawman claimed to have seen less action since the end of January. The story provides no statistics or other supporting information to corroborate the assertions made by the deputy.
As Breitbart Texas reported, preliminary numbers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) indicating January apprehensions were down slightly. CBP reports reveal it is not uncommon for January numbers to be reduced from the month before. The report noted a 27 percent decrease in total apprehensions along the nation’s southwest border with Mexico during the month of January. Family Unit Alien (FMUA) apprehensions also decreased in January by 42 percent while Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) apprehensions declined by 39 percent.
From October to December as part of the 2017 fiscal year, agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector detained 13,624 unaccompanied minors versus 10,527 that were detained during the same time period in 2016. The number of apprehensions point to a 29 percent increase from the previous year. Throughout the entire southwest border, the increase is 23 percent, rising from 17,304 unaccompanied minors in 2016 to 21,321, according the most recent figures for FY 2017.
However, when comparing January 2017’s 9,314 apprehensions to the previous year’s 3,143, an entirely different picture of border activity becomes clear. January 2017 apprehensions were up by 296 percent.
In the case of families, the number of apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley has skyrocketed from 14,337 in 2016 to 30,293–an increase of 111 percent. Throughout the entire southwest border, the number of families arrested at the border has jumped from 21,469 in 2016 to 44,843 in 2017.
In January, Breitbart Texas reported the December apprehensions for immigrant families increased for the sixth consecutive month, making it the largest single month of apprehensions of family units since the surge in June 2014.
Throughout December 2016, Breitbart Texas reported that the number of apprehensions had spiked to 230 percent from the same time period in 2015. The move had resulted in CBP opening additional detention centers in Donna and Tornillo, Texas.
Earlier this month, Breitbart Texas reported on a decrease in apprehensions at the border; resulting in the closing of the Donna center. The number of family units decreased in January by 42 percent while unaccompanied minors decreased by 39 percent, compared to December. While apprehensions did drop from the previous month, the numbers are still significantly higher for January 2016.
Claims about a secure border and decreasing illegal crossings have been pushed by left-leaning outlets like The Guardian and others in recent months. In December, The Guardian published a fake news story claiming that the number arrests at the border were at historic lows. Breitbart Texas called out the outlet for their “statistical sleight of hand and cherry picking data,” drawing a response from the paper.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.