The apprehension of illegal immigrants crossing the southwestern border fell for the first time since April 2017. Border Patrol agents apprehended 25,980 in January trying to cross between legal ports of entry.
While declining, the number of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) apprehended remained high because of a loophole in the law that keeps agents from returning them to their country of origin. Agents apprehended 3,227 UACs and 5,656 FMUAs in January.
“DHS front-line personnel are required to release tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien children and illegal family units into the United States each year due to current loopholes in our immigration laws. Once again, this month we saw an unacceptable number of UACs and family units flood our border because of these ‘catch and release’ loopholes,” acting Department of Homeland Security Press Secretary Tyler Q. Houlton said in a statement. “To secure our borders and make America safer, Congress must act to close these legal loopholes that have created incentives for illegal immigrants and are being exploited by dangerous transnational criminal organizations like MS-13.”
Despite freezing weather conditions that led to the deaths of many migrants in South Texas, the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Border Sector led the others in all apprehension categories.
In January, RGV Sector agents apprehended 1,368 UACs and 3,451 FMUAs. Total apprehensions fell to 9,486.
For Fiscal Year 2018, agents have apprehended 150,173 crossing the border between ports of entry or who were determined to be inadmissible. This number is down from 230,944 during the same period in FY 2017, when migrants were rushing to the border ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump. From January 2017 through April 2017, the number of apprehensions and inadmissibles fell dramatically from 42,463 in January to 15,766 in April.
Unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border came mostly from Central America. Guatemala leads the list in FY 2018 with 7,303; followed by Honduras with 2,242; and El Salvador with 1,185. Unaccompanied minors from Mexico totaled 3,278 for FY 2018 year-to-date numbers.
The number of FMUAs apprehended followed a similar pattern. Guatemala again leads with 13,564; Honduras with 7,526; El Salvador with 3,684; and Mexico with 642.
“The administration will continue to work with Congress to pass its responsible, fair and pro-American immigration framework that provides funding for the border wall system, ends chain migration and the diversity visa lottery, and creates a permanent solution for DACA,” Houlton concluded.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Gab, and Facebook.