According to the monthly statistics released from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), April southwest border apprehensions declined 50 percent since March resulting in a total of 16,789.
The month marks the lowest number of recorded apprehensions since April 2017, which saw about a thousand fewer cases.
The decline in cases is undoubtedly connected to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, which began statewide in Texas and in some parts of Mexico in the latter part of March.
Likewise, the total number of inadmissible border entries because of both immigration and health emergency laws declined nearly 80 percent since March, dropping from 4,062 to 927.
Under the inadmissible statistics, the number of family units and unaccompanied children plummeted, from 1,178 to 22 and from 248 to 32, respectively. Single adults saw a less sharp decline from 2,596 to 857.
Both the northern and southern land borders of the United States have been closed to non-essential travel amidst the pandemic.
Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said, “The decrease in encounters means that we have less illegal migrants in our custody and that we are better able to manage our short-term holding facilities from a health perspective.”
Some, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and several Democratic elected officials, have criticized the CBP and the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for the purported health risks associated with their border and immigration enforcement policies amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
Morgan has pointed out that the continued attempts to illegally enter the country during the time of crisis also poses a health risk.
In early May, Morgan said that U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agents “encountered a Mexican national who after being apprehended, was showing symptoms of COVID-19. During his medical assessment he admitted to being exposed to COVID-19 and his deliberate intentions to illegally enter the US for medical care.”
“[H]e intentionally exposed everyone around him including USBP agents, who were doing their sworn duty to protect the American people. We should all want to prevent this unnecessary spread of the infectious disease and stand in solidarity that border security matters,” said Morgan.
Drug seizures by CBP were also down from March, though not as drastically as the decrease in border apprehensions or inadmissibles.
Excluding the weight of seized drugs classified as “other,” which was unusually high in March, the total pounds of seized marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl declined from 33,741 to 26,762 — a 21 percent decline.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.