The apprehension of illegal aliens by Border Patrol agents along the southwest border with Mexico increased for the third straight month. Figures rose from 16,087 in June to 18,198 in July – a 13.12 percent gain.
Apprehensions of illegal aliens by agents working the border region began to fall following the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States in November. The number dropped even more dramatically beginning in January and continued falling until April when they reached a historic low of 11,125. Many believe these numbers took a dramatic drop in anticipation of Trump’s promise to build the walls along our border and to rigorously enforce immigration laws inside the country. However, the past three months’ reports show the threat of increased border security and enforcement may not be enough.
During the peak months of the summer heat when the number of apprehensions historically decline, Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) arrests rose dramatically, according to the Southwest Border Migration Report released this week by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
The Border Patrol defines UACs as a person apprehended who is under the age of 18 and is traveling without a parent or guardian. The number of UACs hit a low point in April at 997, — down from 7,345 in November. The number of UACs apprehended has increased each month since April, reaching 2,495 in July. On average, the number of border apprehensions declines when comparing June to July over the past six years. In 2017, the number of UAC apprehensions increased 28 percent from June to July (1,952 in June, 2,495 in July).
Similarly, the apprehension of FMUAs (defined as one or more minors traveling with a single parent or guardian) increased dramatically from June to July this year. FMUA apprehensions rose from 2,322 in June to 3,397 in July – a 46 percent increase. FMUA apprehensions fell from a high in December of 16,139 to a low-point in April of 1,118 before turning around and starting back up.
The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector in South Texas continues to be the focal point for human smugglers to deliver their cargo of minors and families. Of the 13,115 FMUAs apprehended along the entire southwest border with Mexico in July, 8,718 occurred in the RGV sector (66 percent). Agents arrested 4,082 UACs in the RGV Sector in July. This represents 61 percent of the 6,705 UAC apprehensions in July. Of the 46,182 total apprehensions of illegal aliens along the southwest border, 22,642 occurred in the RGV Sector (49 percent).
The 35,517 UACs apprehended so far this fiscal year came to the U.S. from Guatemala (12,274) followed by El Salvador (8,526), Mexico (7,234), and Honduras (6,887). Of the 66,808 FMUAs apprehended in July, 22,510 came from El Salvador followed by 23,067 from Guatemala, 20,226 from Honduras, and 3,481 from Mexico.
CBP officials point out the total number of apprehensions and inadmissible persons apprehended this fiscal year along the southwest border declined by 22 percent when compared to FY 2016 numbers. The July apprehension and inadmissible numbers are down by 47 percent from one year ago when they were at historic highs.