One Month Of Fewer Apprehensions Does Not Mean the Border Crisis is Over
According to the Washington Examiner, officials with direct knowledge of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data report illegal apprehensions at the southern border for June totaled 94,487, which is more than a 37,500 decrease from May. While some of the drop may be attributed to President Trump’s recent tariff threat on Mexico and the Mexican government’s increased role in its border enforcement, the significant decreases in illegal migration this time of the year are not unprecedented.
In fact, the start of the summer season is typically a deterrent for migrants who aim to cross into the country illegally. Temperatures soar in the summer months, exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit on an average day. These migrants, who are now mostly comprised of family units, trek thousands of miles through deserts and coastal plains to reach the U.S. border with minimal water, food, and medicine, making their journey even more difficult.
While it is still too early to determine whether theU.S.-Mexico immigration agreement is having a significant effect inapprehension reduction, there is ample historic evidence to suggest that thesummer heat is an important factor.
Between 2000-2018,apprehension totals at the southern border for June decreased from May in everyyear but one. The June 2019 figure is still 2.5 times greater than June 2018and five times greater than June 2017, but reveals that the transition to thesummer season usually contributes to a decrease in apprehensions.
While these data are readily available, the mainstreammedia will continue to omit these facts from much of its reporting. Thenation’s border crisis is far from over and continues to spiral out of control.While we may see decreases in apprehension figures for the summer months, theyare bound to increase once the temperatures in the southwest region begin tofall and our porous southern border and exploitable asylum laws remain in place.
This summer, Congress has the opportunity to addressthe nation’s border crisis by enacting legislation that remove important “pullfactors” that are driving the crisis. It is essential that it closes theloopholes in our asylum laws. It must amend the 2015 Flores Settlement thatunreasonably constrains detention of families with children, and the William WilberforceTrafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPRA) that treats all unaccompanied minorsas though they are trafficking victims, even when they clearly are not. Fixingthese policies would end the practice of catch-and-release and would deter peoplefrom using children to exploit our immigration system.
Further, Congress must approve funding for thesouthern border wall, increase the number of immigration judges at the southernborder, and expand detention space to accommodate the growing number of migrantsarriving at our southern border. Combined, these deterrent measures would makeit more difficult for people to enter the United States illegally and lesslikely to be quickly released from custody.
All of these items are part of a comprehensiveimmigration reform strategy that would significantly reduce the monthlyapprehensions at the southern border beyond just the summer months.