Border Crisis: Migrant Numbers Drop by 22 Percent to 64,600 in August

Central American migrants look through a border fence as a US Border PatRol agents stands guard near the El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on November 25, 2018. - Hundreds of migrants attempted to storm a border fence separating Mexico from the US on Sunday amid …
GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images

The number of migrants who arrived at the U.S. border in August dropped to 64,600, marking a 22 percent drop from the 82,000 who arrived in July, administration officials told Breitbart News.

The declining number will help deter the next wave of migrants taking the dangerous and expensive route to rejection at the U.S. border, the official said.

The decline is also allowing border officials to curb the reduced flow. For example, one station which was releasing up to 1,500 migrants in May was able to prevent any catch-and-release actions for one day last week, he said. No migrants were released, because they were either sent home or returned to Mexico to wait for their asylum hearings, the official said.

The inflow reached a peak of 145,000 in May, when the inrush overwhelming the border posts, forcing officials to release nearly all the migrants into U.S jobs, neighborhoods, and schools used by blue-collar Americans

The official gave much of the credit for the August reduction to Mexico’s government, but also warned repeatedly that migration numbers might rise if Congress does not close the legal loopholes and incentives for migrants to cross into the United States for jobs. “We are still in a crisis,” an official told Breitbart News. 

Mexico agreed to help when President Donald Trump threatened to impose economic sanctions on Mexico’s economy. Trump’s threat was denounced by the Washington establishment — legislators, lobbyists, think-tankers, and journalists — but it has changed the border security problem. 

Mexico is helping to stem the flood, the officials said. The drop shows “the incredible work that the government of Mexico is doing … What they are doing in unprecedented,” said one official, adding, “They are doing a lot, but we do need them to do more.”

For example, Mexico has accepted more than 43,000 migrants who have been returned to Mexico from the United States pending their eventual hearings with U.S. asylum judges, one official said. “This is a game-changer.” 

Mexican border officials have also apprehended 134,000 people in the first eight months of 2019, up from 83,000 for all of 2018, the official said. “They have interdicted more people at their southern border, with a greater level of efforts… that we’ve seen in years,” the official said. 

Governments in Central American are also helping, the official said. It is “a shift in mindset… they really are coming together as true partners, they really see this a regional crisis, they no longer see this a U.S.-only crisis.” For example, police in El Salvador arrested 100 smugglers, one official said, adding “it sent shock waves” through the smuggling industry.

“The new government of Panama is clearly going to be a good partner as well … We’re going to partner with them on the challenge of people [migrating] from outside the hemisphere,” an official said. People from “outside the hemisphere” includes a growing number of Africans and Indians. 

U.S. courts are a problem, partly because they created some of the loopholes, including the Flores loophole. At the request of pro-migration legal groups, a judge is now considering whether he should shut down the Remain in Mexico program, which is formally called the “Migrant Protection Protocols.” 

“Should we lose in court on something like MPP. we’re going to be in a challenge again,” said one official. 

The overall target is to reach the low migration levels in the Spring of 2017, an official said. The lower inflow will help U.S. officials to recognize and process substantial requests for asylum while also blocking any catch-and-release of migrants into the U.S. job market.

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