FederalImmigration & BorderIssuesAs Border Apprehensions Continue to Decline, Drug Seizures Are Escalating

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan announced that apprehensions declined at the U.S.-Mexico border for the sixth month in a row, while drug seizures again increased.
December 10, 2019
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At a press briefing on Monday, acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan announced that total enforcement actions, including apprehensions and inadmissible entries, during the month of November had declined for the sixth straight month. 

Touting President Trump’s border initiatives as the reason for the decline, total enforcement action last month dropped to 42,649 representing a 6 percent decline since October and a 70 percent decline since the highest levels of apprehension in May.

“Of those apprehended by Border Patrol so far in Fiscal Year 20, more than 95 percent of the illegal aliens apprehended trying to illegally enter this country were subject to a legal consequence or removal pathway,” Morgan said.

During November, CBP reported apprehending more than 13,000 family units, marking a 4 percent decline from October. 

Additionally, November statistics showed that enforcement actions involving family units have declined 85 percent since May and 53 percent compared to this time last year.

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“This is a direct result due to this president’s strategies to address the historic flood of Central American families illegally crossing the border,” Commissioner Morgan said of the notable decline.  

Since assuming office in 2017, President Trump has instituted a number of border security and immigration initiatives, many of which involve cooperative measures between the United States and other countries. 

In addition to the Migration Protection Protocols (MPPs), which authorize individuals awaiting immigration court proceedings to wait in Mexico while their cases are decided, the Trump administration has also forged various asylum cooperation agreements with Northern Triangle countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

“CBP is ensuring that the era of Catch and Release is over,” Morgan said, adding that families from northern triangles countries will “no longer be released into the interior United States simply because you have a child.”

Commissioner Morgan continued by discussing drug seizure statistics, emphasizing the many threats posed by drugs not only to border security but also to communities throughout the United States by illicit drugs and narcotics. 

In November, CBP reported intercepting more than 82,000 pounds of drugs, reflecting a 32 percent increase compared to October and a 38 percent increase in overall drug seizures on the southwest border. 

According to Morgan, Mexican cartels are the number one supplier of heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana while also serving as a transit for fentanyl and cocaine into the United States. 

Fentanyl and other opiates have been a key driver in the rising number of overdose deaths attributed to the opioid epidemic in recent years.

“We are and we will continue to work with our Mexico counterparts daily to aggressively combat the flow of illicit drugs, money, and weapons that support these transnational criminal organizations,” Morgan said.

These comments come just days after President Trump announced his intentions to hold off designating Mexican cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) at the request of Mexican President Andrés Manual López Obrador, despite declaring his intentions to do so at the end of November.

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Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.