Illegal Immigration Continues To Decline At Southern Border

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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  • Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, spoke at the White House on Thursday to discuss the latest month’s border apprehension numbers. 
  • October saw roughly 42,000 apprehensions, a drop from the previous month and the lowest number in the calendar year, demonstrating that the immigration crisis is continuing to wane. 
  • For the first time in 18 months, the majority of those apprehended were Mexican nationals and single adults, not migrant families from the Northern Triangle.

The Trump administration maintains that the immigration crisis is still ongoing, and the latest border apprehension numbers suggest that a slate of new policies have helped subdue the emergency.

Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), held a White House press conference Thursday to discuss the latest border apprehension data. The month of October saw the fewest border enforcement actions than any other month in the entire calendar year, marking a monumental drop from when the immigration crisis reached its peak, according to Morgan.

Border Patrol agents and other CBP officials made just over 42,000 apprehensions in October — a 14% decline from September and a near 70% decline from the month of May.

“Not a single piece of meaningful legislation has been brought forward, and as a result, this country stood by and watched as the crisis worsened as we reached our peak in May of over 140,000 apprehensions in a single month,” Morgan said during the beginning of the press conference.

U.S. Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 9, 2019. (Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 9, 2019. (Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

“However, in the absence of congressional action, the president, along with his administration, as well as the hard working men and women of the Customs and Border Protection and our partner agencies, have taken action,” he continued. “Together we are approaching this as the regional crisis that it is and we are seeing incredible success.”

The significant drop in monthly apprehensions is also evident in the day-by-day enforcement actions. At the height of the crisis, Morgan said CBP officials were detaining over 5,000 migrants in a single day. Currently, that average has dropped to just over 1,300.

“Migrants can no longer expect to be allowed into the interior of the United States based on fraudulent asylum claims. More importantly, we are sending a message to the criminal organizations to stop exploiting these migrants and their profit-making schemes,” the CBP chief declared.

Another notable change in the current apprehension numbers are the demographics.

For well over a year, the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border was fueled by migrant families from the Northern Triangle — a region in Central America made up of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. October marked the first time in 18 months where the majority of apprehensions and inadmissible aliens were made up of Mexican nationals rather than those from the Northern Triangle. Additionally, apprehensions of single adults surpassed those of family units.

The latest immigration demographics better reflect the type of illegal immigration historically seen on the southern border: Single adult men from Mexico.

Since entering office, President Donald Trump has launched a number of policies aimed at managing the immigration crisis.

Namely, his administration has credited the implementation of Remain in Mexico — which mandates asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their claims are processed in the U.S. immigration court system — for undercutting a major incentive for illegal immigration. Metering, which restricts the number of migrants who can legally cross the border and request asylum, and a host of other policy changes has also made illegal migration appear less desirable. (RELATED: CBP Chief Says ‘No Immigration System In The World’ Can Handle What The US Experienced In 2019)

Morgan, however, maintained that the crisis is not over.

“But while we made great progress, I want to remind the American people that there still remains a humanitarian crisis at our southern border, and importantly, a national security crisis along our southwest border as well,” he said.

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