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No, Border Crossings Have Not Increased In El Paso. News Sites Mislead On Border Data

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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  • The Raw Story and the Inquisitr ran articles with headlines that suggested the president’s new border wall in the El Paso sector was leading to higher illegal border crossings. 
  • However, both articles simply reported the number of single adults who have been apprehended, comparing the numbers this fiscal year to the same time period last fiscal year. 
  • In actuality, total apprehensions in the El Paso sector have dropped nearly 57% when you include data of all demographics — single adults, unaccompanied minors, and family units. 

At least two news sites reported that border crossings in the El Paso sector have increased because of newly erected border wall, but apprehensions in that area have actually fallen substantially, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

The Raw Story and the Inquisitr ran stories Monday with headlines that suggested President Donald Trump’s border wall in the El Paso sector has led to an increase in apprehensions, but these articles either included cherry-picked data or omitted other data entirely that paints a dramatically different picture of what’s taking place in the region.

In the case of The Raw Story article — which was wired from the New Civil Rights Movement — the headline read “Illegal border crossings ‘nearly double’ thanks to $5 ladders that easily hook onto Trump’s new replacement wall.” The article linked to a story from The Independent about illegal migrants using cheap ladders to cross newly built barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“President Donald Trump has diverted billions of dollars from the Pentagon to ensure his campaign promise to ‘build a wall’ from coast to coast is being kept before the November 2020 election. But what if that wall was not only ineffective, but led to more illegal border crossings?” the author of the article began.

President Trump Threatens To Close The Southern Border With Mexico Over Immigration

A U.S. Border Patrol agent loads detained migrants into a van at the border of the United States and Mexico on March 31, 2019 in El Paso, Texas.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The author later quoted a sentence from The Independent that said “Border Patrol apprehensions of single adults — those most likely to use the ladder method — have nearly doubled in the El Paso sector.”

The Raw Story article then laid out data to back up its argument: “In just a few months, from October 2019 to January 2020 Border Patrol agents apprehended 10,030 people, ‘compared with 5,150 in the same period a year ago.'”

Have border apprehensions increased in the El Paso sector compared to this time period past fiscal year? No. The numbers have actually dropped precipitously.

From October 2018 to January 2019, total apprehensions in the El Paso sector hit 34,788, according to data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This number encompasses all apprehensions, which includes unaccompanied minors, family units, and single adults. Total apprehensions for the same time period this fiscal year stood at 19,812. That’s a decrease of nearly 57%.

How did The Raw Story get its number? It only reported the apprehensions of single adults — which did see an increase — and ignored the steep drop of family unit and unaccompanied minor apprehensions. The massive drop of family units in particular — from 25,788 last fiscal year to 8,085 this fiscal year — accounted for a significant portion of the total drop.

The Inquisitr article, for its part, falsely reported that apprehensions in the El Paso have risen, without even specifying that the numbers referred to single adults.

“Another border agent, Ramiro Cordero, confirmed that illegal crossings are up, most likely due to the simple ladder. Last year, the area saw just over 5,000 apprehensions. This year, over 10,000 were apprehended,” the Inquisitr article reads, reporting only the arrest of single adults.

EL PASO, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 12: People work on the U.S./ Mexican border wall on February 12, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. U.S. President Donald Trump visited the border city yesterday as he continues to campaign for more wall to be built along the border. Democrats in Congress are asking for other additional border security measures. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

People work on the U.S./ Mexican border wall on February 12, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to The Raw Story and Inquisitr for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

Enforcement actions, which include apprehensions and inadmissables, along the entire U.S.-Mexico border have dropped for eight straight months, falling from peak of over 144,000 in May to just over 36,600 in January, the last month for which we have available information, according to CBP data. (RELATED: Mike Bloomberg Ad Uses Obama-Era Footage Of Caged Migrants To Criticize Trump)

As for the correlation between border walls and illegal crossings, much data suggests that crossings drop substantially when barriers are erected.

“Looking at wall construction historically, we see that walls go up, illegal apprehensions and illegal crossings go down,” Chad Wolf, the acting secretary fo the Department of Homeland Security, said in January during the commemoration of 100 miles of completed border wall.

“A wall system went up in San Diego, illegal crossings went down 27%. A wall system went up in Tucson [Arizona], illegal crossings went down 24%. Here in Yuma, when the wall system went up, illegal crossings in that area decreased by over 78%,” Wolf said.

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