The week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly announced Customs and Border Protection (CBP) illegal border crossing data through the month of February “show an unprecedented decline in traffic. From January to February, the flow of illegal border crossings as measured by apprehensions and the prevention of inadmissible persons at our southern border dropped by 40 percent.”
Earlier this month, Homeland Security Today reported that CBP “saw a decrease in apprehensions between our ports of entry [POEs] and a decrease in individuals deemed inadmissible to enter the US at our ports of entry along the Southwest Border in January 2017.” CBP also noted that, “Overall, total migration remained at elevated levels, primarily due to family units and unaccompanied children [UAC] from Central America, Haitian nationals migrating from Brazil and Cuban nationals.”
In January, CPB said earlier this month, a total of 31,575 individuals were apprehended between Southwest border POEs, compared with 43,254 in December and 47,211 in November. In Fiscal Year 2016, Border Patrol apprehended 408,870 individuals along the southwest border, compared to 331,333 in FY 2015, and 479,371 in FY 2014.
Of the 415,816 total Border Patrol apprehension in FY 2016 (October 1st through September 30th), 222,847 apprehensions were “Other Than Mexicans (OTMs),” which includes “Special Interest Aliens,” compared to 148,995 OTM apprehensions in FY 2015. This is the second highest number of OTM apprehensions since the 257,473 apprehensions in FY 2014, and the second largest number of OTM arrests since FY 2000.
There were 168,222 total Southwest Border Patrol Apprehensions FY 2017 year to date (October 1 – January 31). For breakdown by Border Patrol Sector, see the earlier Homeland Security Today report.
Kelly said the latest numbers from CBP reveals that, “The dropin apprehensions shows a marked change in trends, noting that, “Since the administration’s implementation of Executive Orders to enforce immigration laws, apprehensions and inadmissible activity is trending toward the lowest monthly total in at least the last five years. This change in the trend line is especially significant because CBP historically sees a 10-20 percent increase in apprehensions of illegal immigrants from January to February. Instead, this year we saw a drop from 31,578 to 18,762 persons – a 40 percent decline.”
“This is encouraging news, as in the period from October 1, 2016 to the Presidential inauguration, CBP reported 157,000 apprehensions of illegal immigrants – a 35 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, with family units increasing by more than 100 percent. However, since President Trump took office on January 20, we have seen a dramatic drop in numbers,” Kelly said.
Kelly added, “This trend is encouraging because it means many fewer people are putting themselves and their families at risk of exploitation, assault and injury by human traffickers and the physical dangers of the treacherous journey north.”
“Additionally,” he pointed out, “we are seeing an increase in the fees charged by human smugglers along the US southwest border. Since November 2016, ‘coyotes’ have hiked their fees in some areas by roughly 130 percent – from $3,500 to $8,000 in certain mountainous regions. Changes in US policy, including the detention of apprehended aliens, drive up the smuggling fees.”
“As directed in my memoranda implementing the President’s executive orders, we remain committed to carrying out fair, impartial and humane enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws,” Kelly stated, adding, “We will remain vigilant to respond to any changes in these trends, as numbers of illegal crossings typically increase between March and May. However, the early results show that enforcement matters, deterrence matters, and that comprehensive immigration enforcement can make an impact.”