Border Chief Mark Morgan: Migrants at Border Down to 52,000 in September

US Customs and Border Protection agent checks documents of a small group of migrants, who crossed the Rio Grande from Juarez, Mexico, on May 16, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. - About 1,100 migrants from Central America and other countries are crossing into the El Paso border sector each day. …
PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images

Border agencies stopped 52,000 migrants at the border during September, down from 144,000 migrants in May, according to Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner at Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“This represents the fourth month in a row of a steady decline in apprehensions,” Morgan said at a White House press event. “This is an unprecedented achievement,” he said.

“I’ll give you an example,” he said. “Just four short months ago, our daily apprehensions were close to 5,000 [migrants], and today I just looked at it on my screen before I left my office: It is below 1,700. We went from over 19,000 people in custody just four short months ago, [down] to less than 4,000 [in custody].”

The reduction has allowed CBP to end the emergency policy of catch and release, he said. “We have essentially ended catch and release [so] if you come to our borders now with a child, it’s no longer an immediate passport into the interior of the United States.”

However, many migrants are released into the United States after being identified and processed by other agencies at the Department of Homeland Security.

Overall, the agency dealt with nearly one million migrants in 2019, Morgan said.

Also, another 150,000 migrants crossed illegally, he said. “We estimate — and this is a conservative estimate — that there’s probably around 150,000 individuals who avoided apprehension. That’s nearly 13,000 each month.”

More than 52,000 migrants have been returned temporarily to Mexico via the Migrant Protection Protocols, he said. They are allowed to attend court hearings in the United States but are not allowed to get U.S. jobs while they wait for the hearings.

Also, the border agency will begin enforcing President Donald Trump’s asylum reforms next week, he said. The new rules require migrants to apply for asylum in the countries that they cross over from on their way to the U.S. border. If they do not apply for asylum in the countries, the United States government officials need not accept their requests for asylum.

“The message is getting out,” Morgan said. “We’re closing those loopholes … [and] we’re trying to overcome the message that the cartels have been putting out there that it’s going to be a free ride in the United States.”

Morgan also touted interior enforcement efforts. “United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement [recently] arrested 97 illegal aliens in six Midwest states,” he said.

Morgan repeatedly praised Mexico’s support, saying:

Mexico’s efforts are leading the way. Mexico’s continued support of MPP [Migrant Protection Protocols] and enhanced border security efforts along their southern border in the interior and along the U.S.-Mexico border is something really for the history books. The partnership between Mexico and the United States concerning this regional crisis is having a dramatic impact.

The border enforcement is also helping to block deadly drug trafficking, he said.

Border agencies also rescue many migrants in danger, he said. “They see a human being in need, and they answer the call, and they’ve done so 4,900 times this year.”

Morgan also praised his agency’s officers, saying:

Make no mistake. This country is safer because of their efforts, their sacrifices and their dedication. This past Sunday we lost another border patrol agent, Robert Hotten, in the line of duty while he was patrolling the Tucson sector. He marks the 129th border patrol agent who has died in the line of duty. He leaves behind a wife and a son … He will be missed, but never forgotten

 

 

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