Child Apprehensions at the Border Went Up Nearly 5% Last Month

You won’t find it spelled on the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol website but apprehensions of unaccompanied children on the southwest border went up nearly 5% between September and October.

Friday the Border Patrol website added the childhood and family apprehension numbers for October, the first month FY15. Rather than present the data for consecutive months, the site presents the October figures beside data from the previous October. The result is a dramatic decline in so-called UAC apprehensions of 40%.

Anyone looking at the drop would probably assume the problem of unaccompanied children on the border is over. That conclusion would no doubt be helpful to the White House as it prepares to roll out another executive action deferring deportations. In fact, the number of UAC apprehensions is still about 8% higher than it was for the same month two years ago. It’s also up compared to the previous month.

According to the Border Patrol site there were 2,529 UACs apprehended in October. The accurate figure for September doesn’t seem to have been published on the site yet, but you can deduce it by taking the FY14 figure from this page (68,541) and subtracting the figure on this page which includes the total for the first 11 months of FY14 (66,127). The result is that there were 2,414 UAC’s apprehended in September of this year. And that means apprehensions actually went up 4.7% from September to October.

Border Patrol also presents figures for family unit apprehensions for October which the site shows dropped 10% compared to the previous October. Here again, you can work out that there were 2,303 family apprehensions in September vs. 2,163 in October. That’s still a decline but only about 6% month-to-month. It’s not very significant given the 361% increase in family apprehensions overall in FY14.

After the surge in children and families arriving from Central America became news this summer the Obama administration put together a plan designed to discourage the flow of immigrants. The campaign focused on the danger inherent in crossing Mexico unaccompanied and also clarified that new arrivals would not be eligible for deferred action.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Patrol could not say when the full data breaking down apprehensions by month and sector would be available for FY14.