Although the reported number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encounters among family units and unaccompanied children remains relatively low, encounters with single adults along the border are continuing to increase significantly.
The number of southern border apprehensions reported by CBP steadily declined from the record highs of last summer and then plummeted to notable lows in April amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
In total along the U.S.-Mexico border, apprehensions dropped from about 30,000 in March to 16,000 in April. In just the Texas CBP regions alone, that number dropped from 18,000 to 10,000.
In May, the total climbed back up to 21,000 across the entire border and back to 12,000 along the Texas border. Most recently, the statistics reported for June show the attempted crossings back up to 30,000 for the entire border and 17,000 for Texas.
Percentage-wise that increase is most prominent among families and unaccompanied children, which rose last month by 60 and 63 percent, respectively. But numerically, those increases were only about 600 each.
The other roughly 8,000 increase in apprehensions was in single adults attempting to enter the United States illegally.
In the Texas regions, apprehensions of family members and unaccompanied children increased by 837, while those of single adults increased by 3,752.
Out of the five Texas CBP regions, the region covering the Rio Grande Valley saw the largest uptick in single adult apprehensions — from 3,282 in May to 4,624 in June.
While total apprehensions including families and children were higher in the fall months of 2019, the apprehensions of single adults both in Texas (15,004) and across the entire border (27,178) are at the highest point for the fiscal year.
Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan noted that compared to last year, border patrol agents are seeing far fewer families from Central America attempting to enter the United States and more attempts at entry from single adult Mexican men.
“Single adult Mexican nationals, who are generally seeking economic opportunities, accounted for almost 80 percent of the encounters,” said Morgan. “While the number of encounters last month are not a surprise, this increase is still extremely concerning as we continue to battle the invisible enemy: COVID-19.”
Both the northern and southern land borders of the United States have been closed to non-essential travel amidst the pandemic since March 21 and will end on July 21 unless extended again by officials.
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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.