Illegal immigration at the southwest border increased substantially over the last full month before the 2016 presidential election, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Thursday, DHS released data revealing that during the month of October 46,195 illegal immigrants were apprehended at the southern border. According to the agency, apprehensions are an indicator of total attempted illegal entries.
October’s level is a substantial increase over the already high apprehension numbers tallied in September (39,501), August (37,048), and last October (32,724).
Border Patrol also apprehended a higher number of unaccompanied minors and adults traveling with minors as “family units” last month.
According to DHS, 13,124 “family units” were apprehended attempting to illegally enter the U.S. last month — a 118 percent increase over the 6,025 “family units” apprehended last October. The apprehensions last month were also significantly higher than September and August, when Border Patrol caught 9,353 and 9,609 “families,” respectively.
Another 6,754 unaccompanied minors were also apprehended at the southern border last month — a 37 percent increase over 4,943 unaccompanied minors apprehended last October. By comparison, 5,767 unaccompanied minors were apprehended in September and 5,767 were apprehended in August.
DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson said that in reaction to the increased level of illegal immigration, he has instructed immigration and border enforcement officials to increase detention space. He added that the government is also working with other countries to “repatriate their citizens more quickly.”
“I have told our border security and immigration enforcement personnel that we must keep pace with this increase,” Johnson said in a statement Thursday.
“As a result, there are currently about 41,000 individuals in our immigration detention facilities — typically, the number in immigration detention fluctuates between 31,000 and 34,000 – and I have authorized Immigration and Customs Enforcement to acquire additional detention space for single adults so that those apprehended at the border can be returned to their home countries as soon as possible,” he added.
In addition to the higher levels of illegal immigration, Johnson also noted, that border officials have “seen increases in the numbers of those who present themselves at ports of entry along the southwest border seeking asylum.”
Reports have indicated that Donald Trump’s promise to build a giant border wall has inspired some of the recent increases in illegal immigration. Trump won the 2016 presidential election Tuesday night.