According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 64,006 individuals were apprehended or deemed inadmissible last month at the southwestern border making August the third successive month to see a reduction in apprehension numbers.
In July, just over 82,000 apprehensions were made, indicating a 22 percent decline from the last month and a 56 percent decline when compared to the month of May, which saw a 13-year high of some 144,000 apprehensions.
During a White House Press Briefing, acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan attributed this significant reduction to the Trump administration’s recent “historic” and “unprecedented” policy initiatives aimed at curbing the flow of illegal immigration at the southern border.
“The president has made it very clear that he’s going to use every tool available to him and this administration to address this unprecedented crisis at the southern border,” Morgan said when announcing the August statistics.
While it is often common to see a decline in apprehension during the hot months of summer, according to Commissioner Morgan, this reduction also coincides with recent actions undertaken by the government of Mexico to enhance enforcement efforts at the border.
According to Morgan, Mexico has apprehended approximately 134,000 individuals so far this calendar year, compared to 83,000 apprehensions for the entirety of the calendar year in 2018.
Morgan attributed this “substantial increase” in apprehensions on the Mexican side of the border to increased troop deployment, a newly developed national guard unit, and increased cooperative measures between the United States and the government of Mexico.
Despite these improvements, however, the administration says there is still more that needs to be done, like increased intelligence sharing and further developing the Migration Protection Protocols – an initiative that allows individuals awaiting immigration proceedings in the U.S. to be sent back to Mexico while their cases are adjudicated.
Other policy initiatives instituted by the Trump administration also include a rule which requires asylum-seekers arriving at the southern border to initially seek asylum in a country through which they passed while en route to the U.S., and the signing of an asylum cooperation agreement (also known as a safe-third country agreement) with Guatemala.
Additionally, the administration issued a public charge rule that will allow the government to deny green cards and permanent residency to legal immigrants if they are deemed likely to rely on government-funded welfare programs, and a replacement of the Flores Settlement Agreement that effectively removes the 20-day detention limitation for families apprehended at the southern border.
While the August border statistics indicate a decline in illegal immigrant apprehensions for the third month in a row, apprehensions still increased by more than 17,000 when compared to August 2018 and are more than double the number seen in 2017.
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.