Southwest Border Apprehensions Soar
By Jennifer G. Hickey | September 14, 2018
On Wednesday, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that the number of illegal alien apprehensions already has exceeded figures from FY2017. While it the overall figures are consistent with seasonal increases, the number of family unit apprehensions spiked 38 percent — 3,500 more than July. Furthermore, there was a 34 percent increase in family apprehensions in August.
In August, 46,560 people were apprehended or turned back between and at ports of entry on the southwest border. Of the more than 37,000 people apprehended in August, one-third — or 12,774 — were families, while another 4,396 were children 17 or younger.
Figures released in the Southwest Border Migration FY2018 report, CBP apprehended 355,470 individuals trying to illegally enter the United States between October 2017 and August 2018, which already has exceeded the total number (303,916) apprehended in all of FY 2017.
In a September 12 statement, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton said statement attributed the soaring numbers to existing legal loopholes and a lack of clarity caused by the end of the zero tolerance policy.
He said “the migration flows are responding to gaps in our nation’s legal framework” and that smugglers and human traffickers “understand our broken immigration laws better than most,” and specifically that DHS is required to release illegal aliens within 20 days of apprehension.
Illegal aliens also know how to game the broken system. According to Houlton, through the third quarter of FY 2018, only 1.4 percent of family units have been repatriated to their home country from noncontiguous countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The inability to efficiently and swiftly repatriate individuals is exacerbated by a growing backlog in the immigration courts – a problem Attorney General Jeff Sessions hopes to remedy by hiring more immigration judges. On Monday, Sessions addressed the newest graduating class of judges and pledged to increase their numbers by 50 percent by the end of the year.
The report confirms what is obvious to most – the Trump administration’s border security and interior enforcement efforts are not sufficient to stem the flows of illegal aliens. Until Congress takes action to fully fund the border wall, close the existing gaps in the legal system, and bring a level of certainty to America’s immigration policies, the illegal aliens and smugglers will continue to exploit our border insecurity.