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Border Apprehensions In 2019 Have Already Surpassed Last Year’s Total

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

Border Patrol agents, halfway through fiscal year 2019, have already apprehended more migrants nationwide than all of fiscal year 2018.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) announced that 418,000 nationwide apprehensions have occurred this fiscal year to date. A total of 404,142 nationwide apprehensions took place in the entirety of fiscal year 2018, a CBP spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. The numbers indicate that 2019 is on pace for a stellar year in border apprehensions.

The vast majority of the captures are taking place on the U.S. southwest border, where 414,000 foreign nationals were nabbed between ports of entry since October — the beginning of the 2019 fiscal year. Compared to the 2018 fiscal year, only 396,579 apprehensions were made on the southwest border.

The escalating situation is prompting more calls from immigration enforcement leaders to do something.

“We don’t have room to hold [detainees], we don’t have the authority to remove them, and they are not likely to be able to be allowed to remain in the country at the end of their immigration proceedings,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday during a press conference in Hidalgo, Texas.

Central American migrants heading to the US walk in caravan along the route between Metapa and Tapachula in Mexico on April 12, 2019. - A group of 350 Central American migrants forced their way into Mexico Friday, authorities said, as a new caravan of around 2,500 people arrived -- news sure to draw the attention of US President Donald Trump. Mexico's National Migration Institute said some members of the caravan had a "hostile attitude" and had attacked local police in the southern town of Metapa de Dominguez after crossing the border from Guatemala. (Photo by Pep COMPANYS / AFP/Getty Images)

Central American migrants heading to the US walk in caravan along the route between Metapa and Tapachula in Mexico on April 12, 2019. (Photo by Pep COMPANYS / AFP/Getty Images)

McAleenan — making his first public appearance since President Donald Trump tapped him to lead the Department of Homeland Security — blamed weak immigration and asylum laws for attracting Central Americans to come to the U.S.-Mexico border. The acting DHS chief said legislative reform is necessary to alleviate the crisis. (RELATED: Kyrsten Sinema Bucks Party, Calls On Lawmakers To Better Secure The Border)

“Without action from Congress, criminals will continue to profit from human misery along our border,” McAleenan continued Wednesday. “It’s clear that all of our resources are being stretched thin. The system is full and we are beyond capacity.”

March, with a total of 103,492 migrants turned back or apprehended at the southern border, marked the highest month in over a decade. Experts predict the numbers to rise as the summer months approach and more migrants decide to take the trek across Mexico.

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