The total apprehensions of migrants along the U.S/Mexico border increased 33 percent over the previous year’s numbers, a new report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed.
While the apprehension numbers reported in January decreased slightly from December 2016, the comparison to the prior year’s numbers show Border Patrol agents are still dealing with massive numbers of illegal border crossers. Focusing on Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and Family Unit Aliens (FMUA), the apprehensions over the prior year are even higher.
In January 2017, 4,421 UAC’s were apprehended along the southern border with Mexico. This compares to the prior year’s number of UAC apprehensions of 3,113–a 30 percent increase.
FMUA apprehensions in that same monthly comparison increased by nearly 300 percent. In January 2016, 3,145 FMUAs were apprehended after crossing the border between the ports of entry. This compares to 4,421 in January 2017–a 29 percent increase.
Total apprehensions in January 2017 were 31,575, up from 23,767 the year before.
While many outlets are reporting the January numbers are down, that is only true in a month-to-month comparison. CBP numbers for January in years past have traditionally been lower than the prior month’s numbers.
During the first four months of the new fiscal year, 168,222 total immigrant apprehensions occurred along the southwest border from Texas to California. That number is up by 25 percent compared to the first four months of FY 2016 – 126,334.
“We’re not a deterrent because they’re looking for us, so we can be standing there and [the smuggler will] still send them across,” Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Marlene Castro told Fox News Channel’s William La Jeunesse during a December interview. “It’s been a group, and then maybe five minutes later another group, and then half an hour later you’ll see another one.”
CBP officials took advantage of the January lull, compared to the previous month, mothballing two temporary detention facilities that were opened at the end of 2016 to deal with the massive increases in illegal border crossers, Breitbart Texas reported.
The Tornillo station, located about 40 miles east of El Paso, will be placed in a “warm standby” status in the event it is needed to return to an operational status in the future. The stated basic maintenance, oversight, and 24-hour security will continue at the facility to make sure it is ready if the migrant crossings surge again. It is anticipated CBP could bring this facility, and the recently closed Donna facility, back into fully operational status within a 24-hour period if needed.
This article has been updated to reflect adjustments to apprehension rates of increase, overall figures in particular. The original story noted that total apprehensions were occurring at a rate of 132 percent.