Migrant Apprehensions at Border Drop 30 Percent in August — Still Up 35 Percent over Aug. 2018

El Paso Sector Border Patrol agents apprehend 194 Central American migrant families and unaccompanied minors at the Antelope Well Port of Entry on August 18. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/El Paso Sector)
(Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/El Paso Sector

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials announced that the apprehension of migrants who illegally cross the border between ports of entry fell in August by 30 percent. This number is down by 62 percent from the May peak of 132,870, but up by 35 percent over August 2018’s 37,524.

U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 50,693 migrants who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico Border between ports of entry in August. This number represents a decrease of 30 percent from July’s 71,999 apprehensions and a 62 percent drop from May’s peak of 132,870, according to the August Southwest Border Migration Report released by CBP officials Monday afternoon. With one month to go in the fiscal year, Border Patrol agents apprehended a total of 811,016 migrants who crossed illegally into the U.S. This year’s total apprehensions are up by more than 145 percent over the same period in FY2018, the report indicates.

The apprehensions in FY 2019 include 457,871 Family Unit Aliens (FMUA), 280,272 single adults, and 72,873 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC). The apprehension of family units in FY 2019 compared to the same period in FY 2018 jumped by a staggering 406 percent, according to numbers provided by CBP officials. Unaccompanied minors also jumped by nearly 60 percent. Single adult apprehensions jumped by 28 percent to 280,272.

CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan credited this month’s drop in migrant apprehensions to “unprecedented” actions on the part of the Trump administration. Those actions include the Remain in Mexico program, increased immigration enforcement by Mexico’s newly formed National Guard, and others.

“Since Congress has failed and continues to fail to pass meaningful legislation to address the crisis at the border which would ultimately stop children from being used as passports and end the cartels’ ability to exploit this population as well as our laws, the Trump administration has taken a number of unilateral actions — unprecedented actions,” Commissioner Morgan said in a Monday press conference.

Morgan discussed the impact of Mexico’s newly created National Guard that is now focused on immigration enforcement within Mexico. He said Mexico deployed 10,000 troops to its southern border and 15,000 troops to its northern border with the United States.

“The international outreach to the governments of Central America is beginning to yield effective and positive results,” Morgan explained. “Particularly, the efforts to stem the surge of illegal migrants crossing the southwest border and to disrupt alien smuggling organizations. The Northern Triangle countries specifically, along with the government of Mexico, have really joined the United States as true partners for the first time. They really are seeing this as a true regional crisis that needs continuing coordination, cooperation, and effort. — that this is not just a United States problem.”

CBP officials listed the following numbers of Family Unit Aliens apprehended from Mexico and the Central American Northern Triangle region:

  • Guatemala — 182.467
  • Honduras — 182,449
  • El Salvador — 54,915
  • Mexico — 9,542

For Unaccompanied Alien Children:

  • Guatemala — 29,602
  • Honduras — 19,696
  • El Salvador — 11,593
  • Mexico — 9,542

For Single Adults:

  • Mexico — 136,658
  • Guatemala — 46,566
  • Honduras — 42,783
  • El Salvador — 19,804

The report from CBP does not detail the numbers of migrants from other nations who have also been apprehended in increasing numbers along the border.

Morgan also credited the reduction of migrant apprehensions to the Migrant Protection Program (MPP) where migrants can be returned and held in Mexico to await asylum hearings in the United States.

The MPP program “discourages the abuse and exploitation of U.S. laws and non-meritorious or false asylum claims,” the commissioner stated. “MPP also promotes a safer and more orderly process along the southwest border — freeing up the limited resources and helps free up time to devote to those migrants who legitimately have a merit-based claim.”

Morgan said that as of September 1, CBP returned more than 42,000 migrants to Mexico under the MPP program.

The commissioner praised Mexico for its cooperation and support but said, “they need to do more.”

“President Trump is making it clear,” Morgan stated in reference to deterrence, “if you come to the United States of American illegally, you will be removed.”

Morgan issued a warning to Congress. “Unless the laws change, these numbers will rise again next year, just as we’ve seen in the past,” the commissioner concluded. “We will again face the same kind of crisis we have for way too long.

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