Migrant Family Apprehensions at Border Down 94 Percent from Peak in May

Mexican National Guards stand on the Mexican side of the Suchiate River near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, where they watch Central American migrants standing on the Guatemalan side of the river, early Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The number of migrants stuck at the Guatemala-Mexico border continued to dwindle Wednesday as detentions …
AP File Photo/Marco Ugarte

The apprehension of migrant families who illegally cross the border between ports of entry from Mexico into the U.S. fell by 94 percent from the surge’s peak in May 2019. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan credits President Donald Trump and his administration’s policies for the dramatic eight-month decline.

The apprehension of Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) by Border Patrol agents along the southwest border with Mexico fell from a peak of 84,486 in May 2019 to only 5,163 in January 2020, according to the Southwest Border Migration Report released by CBP officials on Tuesday. This represents a change in the processing of migrant families from 2,725 per day in May to 167 per day in January.

“The Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO) — the cartels, the human smuggling organizations — who have shown a complete disregard for the safety of other human beings are exploiting people and violating the laws of our nation,” Commissioner Morgan told reporters during a Tuesday morning press conference. “That is the one commonality in any crisis that we’re facing and any threat that we’re facing in respect to CBP’s duties, roles, and responsibilities.”

“Their actions have resulted in the deaths of thousands of individuals in this country and jeopardized the safety and security of countless more in every town, city, and state in this country.” Morgan explained. “We should be standing together in attacking the individuals who are part what I call these greedy, heartless, and dehumanizing organizations whose only motivation is power and money.”

Morgan said the number of migrant family illegal border crossings increased steadily during FY 2019 peaking in May when Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 84,000.

“There is no question that in 2019 we definitely faced an immigration crisis along our southwest border,” the commissioner stated. “The crisis stemmed from the flow of families from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. That was really the crux of that immigration crisis — the magnitude we’ve never seen before.”

Morgan blamed the crisis, in part, on the failure of Congress to take action.

“We tried time and time again to ask Congress to help us address the crisis,” Morgan continued. “Time and time again, they failed to take action. They sat back and watched as the threat grew. They still have failed to take any meaningful steps to pass any meaningful legislation to actually positively impact this crisis — to take away the money from these criminal organizations who exploit these migrants.”

Instead, the commissioner said, President Trump and his administration took decisive action leading to the now 94 percent drop in migrant family apprehensions.

“This president has,” he continued. “Where Congress has failed to act, this president has. The president’s network of carefully considered policy initiatives implemented by CBP, ICE, and other partner agencies now apply to nearly 95 percent of aliens who cross the border illegally.”

“We have all but ended catch and release, and make no mistake,” Morgan explained, “these initiatives restored integrity to our immigration system and to laws.”

“If we encounter you, if you are illegally in this country, you will not remain in the United States,” the commissioner stated emphatically. “You will be promptly removed and returned.”

The commissioner said that 95 percent of migrants now face removal, return, or some other legal consequence after illegally crossing the U.S. border.

Morgan said that due to the success of the Trump administration’s network of policies, the cartels responsible for human smuggling are shifting their tactics. So far this fiscal year (which began October 1, 2019) Border Patrol agents apprehended nearly 55,000 single adults from Mexico. This compares to about 150,000 for all of FY 19. The apprehension of Mexican families also is on the rise with 4,425 apprehended in the first quarter of this fiscal year compared to 6,004 for all of FY 19.

He said the smugglers are also enticing Brazillian nationals to make the dangerous journey to the U.S. During FY 19, agents apprehended a record high of 20,000 Brazillian migrants. He said this trend is continuing.

Cartels are also enticing migrants from extra-continental locations like Africa and Asia.

“Since we’ve all but addressed the crisis of the Northern Triangle countries, they’re looking to other vulnerable groups,” the commissioner said. “They’re doing this because we’ve hurt their pocketbooks — significantly.”

“Now we’re seeing more individuals from Mexico,” he continued. “This time last year, about 61 percent of those we were encountering were from the Northern Triangle countries. Now, eight months later, that same percentage, about 61 percent, are actually Mexican nationals and the majority of those are single adults.”

He said the apprehension of single adult Mexican nationals is up 32 percent from this same time last year.

“Let’s be clear and be honest,” Morgan said. “Not everyone trying to illegally enter the United States is good. Not everyone trying to illegally enter the United States is vulnerable. In fact, there are some very dangerous people trying to enter this country illegally every single day with the intent to make their way to every town, city, and state in this country.”

Morgan cited the apprehension of nearly a thousand criminal aliens in just the first four months of this fiscal year. He said those arrested include sexual offenders, violent offenders, human traffickers, and weapons violators. He said agents and officers have also arrested more than 170 gang members this fiscal year. “This is just what we’ve caught,” Mogan said. “There are tens of thousands more that we haven’t caught. That should concern everybody.”

“We’re in a very different place than we were just eight months ago,” the commissioner concluded. “Now, regardless of the numbers, regardless of the demographics, we have the tools, because of this president and because of this administration, to apply a removal, a return, or a consequence to 95 percent of those that CBP are encountering rather than letting them go into the interior of the United States.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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