The number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border hit a 21-year high last month, according to data released Tuesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
In all, CBP encountered 178,622 people attempting to enter the United States, a three percent increase from March, and the most encounters in a single month since April of 2000, when 182,613 illegal immigrants were apprehended.
The April increase was driven by an 11.2 percent increase in the number of single adults attempting to enter the US. A total of 111,301 were stopped by CBP in April, up from 100,104 in March.
By contrast, the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended by authorities dropped 9.4% to 17,171 in April from 18,960 in March. That’s still well above the previous high of 11,475 reported in May 2019.
“CBP continues to see a large influx of illegal migration along the Southwest Border,” Senior Official Performing the Duties of Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement. “In order to disrupt criminal organizations that have little regard for human life, CBP is leading the way alongside external law enforcement partners through Operation Sentinel.
“Day after day, CBP rescues migrants abandoned in harsh terrain, left for dead with no food or water,” Miller added. “CBP is committed to enhancing the security of the U.S. border and helping save the lives of vulnerable migrants.”
CBP also touted a 12.3% drop in the number of unaccompanied minors from the so-called Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. All encounters with illegal immigrants from those countries decreased by 7.5% from last month. However, April saw a 4.8% increase in illegal immigration from Mexico and a 34.8% increase from other countries.
The numbers aren’t directly comparable because a solid majority of those stopped in April were quickly expelled from the country under federal pandemic-related powers that deny rights to seek asylum. Being expelled carries no legal consequences, so many people try to cross multiple times.
President Biden has exempted unaccompanied children from expulsion, allowing them to stay in the U.S. while pursuing asylum claims. Families with young children are also often released in the U.S. while their cases wind through the bottlenecked immigration court system.
Mexico has been reluctant to take back Central American families with young children, especially in Tamaulipas state bordering Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. Many are being released in the U.S. while their asylum cases are considered by immigration authorities. Some families are flown to El Paso, Texas, and San Diego to be expelled from there, where Mexican authorities are more willing to take them.
With Post wires