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The Number Of Illegals Caught At The Southwest Border Nearly Doubles, DHS Reports

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

Apprehensions of illegal migrants at the southwest border in January increased dramatically from the same time last year, and experts predict 2019 will experience increases in illegal migrant arrests overall.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — a subset agency of the Department of Homeland Security — reported a total of 47,893 apprehensions of illegal migrants in January at the southwest border, a region of the U.S.-Mexico border that is the most active. The number marked an increase of nearly 22,000 arrests, or 84 percent, from January 2018.

The huge uptick could suggest more illegal immigrants will try to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in 2019 than originally anticipated. Princeton Policy Advisors, a group that analyzes immigration trends, is currently forecasting 606,000 apprehensions for the entire year, but left the door open to increase this projection.

“The January numbers don’t yet warrant an upward revision in our forecast of 606,000 apprehensions in 2019. But we are on notice,” Steven Kopits, president of Princeton Policy Advisors, stated to the Washington Examiner. “Buckle your seat belts: 2019 could be a wild ride at the southwest border.”

The January numbers reflect a growing trend at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Nearly 467,000 apprehensions took place at the U.S. southern border in 2018, more than any other calendar year since at least 2012, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. The spike in arrests was lead in large part by migrant families attempting to reach the U.S. illegally at the tail end of 2018.

While rising apprehensions can be indicative of more migrants attempting to enter the U.S., the numbers also reflect an evolving strategy among illegal migrants.

The border division between Mexico and the U.S. in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on January 26, 2017. (HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The border division between Mexico and the U.S. in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on January 26, 2017. (HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Many illegal immigrants reach the border with the intention of getting caught by border patrol where they can then make an asylum claim. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), for example, recorded 78,564 asylum requests in 2017, a huge increase from the 13,880 requests made in 2012. (RELATED: California Governor Wants National Guard To Help Struggling Pot Industry Instead Of Protecting Borders)

“Remember, the problem right now isn’t people crossing the border illegally. It’s people presenting themselves to border patrol agents – people who want to get apprehended so they can lodge a frivolous asylum claim,” RJ Hauman, director of government relations for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, stated to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They know we don’t have the detention space, so we just release them into the interior of the country.”

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