U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the number of apprehended people at the U.S.-Mexico border dropped for the fourth straight month since May, according to recently released numbers.
For the month of September, total CBP encounters, which includes U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions and inadmissible cases along the southwest border, were 52,546 — a 64% decrease from May, when the agency reported more than 144,000 apprehensions, the agency’s website stated.
The numbers show the decrease during the summer months, which historically has been the time of the year that numbers dwindle.
But this year, in addition to normal migration patterns, the Trump administration’s utilization of the Migrant Protection Protocols, a Department of Homeland Security-led initiative which returns recently arrived immigrants to Mexico to wait for their respective U.S. immigration proceedings, and which has been expanded to several Mexican states.
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.
CBP officials underscored that in the last few months, even families and unaccompanied children apprehensions have gone down.
The increase in families and unaccompanied minors arriving at the southwest border had caused overcrowding in most CBP and Border Patrol facilities earlier in the year.
DHS, CBP and Border Patrol officials 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.
“In Fiscal Year 2019, CBP encountered 977,509 people attempting to cross our Southwest border, which is 72% higher than fiscal year 2014. Since the expansion of the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) and the Administration’s agreements with Central American governments, monthly enforcement actions have dropped an average of 22% per month,” according to a CBP news release.
Through the end of September, which signifies the end of the fiscal year, the agency reported Border Patrol agents made a total of 977,509 apprehensions,
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 was more than 10 years ago, in fiscal year 2007, when Border Patrol agents made 858,638 apprehensions, according to the agency’s website.