McALLEN — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said they apprehended more than 140,000 people at the U.S.-Mexico border last month, according to the agency’s website.
In May, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 144,278 people at the U.S.-Mexico border, 11,391 of which were categorized as inadmissible at a port of entry. This is a more than 30% increase from April, when CBP reported a total of 109,474 people apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, 10,170 of which were deemed inadmissible.
Without the inadmissible group figure, Border Patrol agents apprehended 99,304 immigrants in April and 132,887 immigrants in May, according to the agency’s website.
CBP equates an apprehension as anyone detained after arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border without legal authorization, but since December, apprehensions have primarily been made up of families and unaccompanied minor children from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, who are seeking asylum and have been surrendering to agents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Through May in fiscal year 2018, Border Patrol agents apprehended 59,106 families. Compared with the year-to-date number of 332,981, it’s an increase of more than 450%, according to the agency’s website.
Border Patrol agents apprehended a total of 56,278 unaccompanied minors through May of this year, an increase of more than 70% over the number of apprehensions through May of last year, which totaled 32,292, according to the agency’s website.
Apprehensions of unaccompanied minors slightly increased from last month, from 8,900 apprehensions in April to 11,507 apprehensions in May.
The May apprehensions report comes as President Trump has called for tariffs on Mexican goods that would take effect next week — if Mexican officials fail to stop the flow of Central American immigrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump has said in recent months that he wanted the asylum process to be more stringent, with asylum officers being directed to follow new guidelines that are more “confrontational” in nature during the interview process with migrants seeking asylum.
In early May, an appeals court ruled that the administration can continue to temporarily require non-Mexican asylum seekers to wait in Mexico pending resolution of their asylum case while the court considers additional issues.
The decision from the appeals court on the “Return/Remain in Mexico” policy, a DHS-led initiative which sought to return immigrants to Mexico to wait during their respective U.S. immigration proceedings, comes after it was blocked by a lower court in April.
The increase in families and unaccompanied minors arriving at the southwest border has caused overcrowding in most CBP and Border Patrol facilities.
CBP and Border Patrol continue to advocate for an overhaul of immigration policy as a means to deter the seemingly endless flow of asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border turning themselves in.
Though the number of immigrants arrested at the border continues to increase, it’s made up of families and unaccompanied minors arriving and surrendering to agents at the border.
Despite the increase in apprehensions of those two specific demographics, historically, apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border remain at levels not seen since fiscal year 2006, when agents apprehended a total of 1,071,972 immigrants.
Before that, apprehension levels topped more than a million each year between 1983 and 1987, between 1990 and 1993, 1995 through 2001, and between 2004 and 2006.
The last time apprehensions neared a million apprehensions was more than 10 years ago, in fiscal year 2007, when Border Patrol agents made 858,638 apprehensions, according to the agency’s website.