Border crossing apprehensions reach 12-year high

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Michael F. Haverluck (

immigrants sitting atop border fence in SoCalThe number of illegal border crossers apprehended by Border Patrol agents this year was higher than any year since 2007, reaching 851,000 – as large as the population of one of America's largest cities.

"Picture the entire population of Indianapolis – every man, woman and child in the city of about 860,000, which is rated as the 12th largest in the United States," The Western Journal described. "Then picture that many illegal immigrants crossing the United States' southern border to be arrested by Border Patrol agents."

Even though more illegal aliens were taken into custody for entering the country unlawfully than any year since the last Bush administration, numbers have been down in recent months as President Donald Trump has begun building major sections of his border wall spanning the Pacific Coast to the Gulf Coast.

"But the 40,000 people taken into custody in September is less than one-third of the 132,000 arrests made in May at the height of a surge of illegal immigrants," the Washington Examiner stressed. "Roughly 40,000 people were apprehended after crossing into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California during the month of September, [and] that number was added to the previous 11 months to bring fiscal 2019 – which ran Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30 – to slightly more than 851,000 arrests."

Not all border-breakers apprehended were sent back, and the 851,000 would be much higher if those turned away before crossing the border were included.

"Those arrested for illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico may have claimed asylum once in custody, but that figure is not released by the government each month," the Examiner's Anna Giaritelli pointed out. "The 851,000 arrested at the southern border does not include the number of people who approached ports of entry, or border crossings, to claim asylum or pass through, but were turned away."

Illegals seeking entry are continuing to flood the border.

"As of Aug. 31, another 263,000 people were encountered at ports by the Office of Field Operations, as Border Patrol agents are stationed on the land between ports of entry while field operations officers stay at ports, so these people are not arrested – [just] denied entry," Giaritelli noted. "These numbers don't include additional arrests and denied port crossers at the U.S.-Canada border and along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, nor does it include the September figure for those encountered at the ports."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says all 263,000 encountered illegally tried breaking over the border, and nearly 60 percent of the 851,000 apprehended weren't from Mexico, but two Central American countries, while more than half arrived with at least one family member.

"Along the U.S.-Mexico border, more than 250,000 Guatemalans and 250,000 Hondurans were apprehended," Giaritelli informed. "The biggest change in fiscal 2019 compared to the Border Patrol's previous 95 years was the number of families who arrived. In 2015, fewer than 80,000 people who arrived with a family member were among those apprehended. As of Aug. 31, more than 450,000 people who arrived with a family member were taken into custody."

In less than half a century, illegals entering the U.S. has risen three- to five-fold.

"Arrests of people entering without documentation has slowly ticked up from about 300,000 in 1970 to between an average of 1 million and 1.5 million each year from the mid-1980s through 2006, according to Border Patrol data," Giaritelli added.

Still a crisis

Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan decried the shocking numbers of illegals nabbed at the border while testifying before Congress this summer.

"The increases and demographic changes in illegal crossings are in direct response to loopholes in our laws that are being exploited," Homan testified in July, according a government report. "These family groups continue to come because they are incentivized and rewarded to come and illegally enter our border because they know DHS must release them within 20 days by law and they will be allowed to remain in the U.S. indefinitely while awaiting immigration court proceedings – if they choose to show up at all."

He said this crisis is like no other.

"What is happening on our southern border is unprecedented in my 34 years of service in several ways," Homan continued. "The composition of those entering illegally is unprecedented because 70 percent of those entering are either family units or unaccompanied children."

He said the level of deception used to gain entry is also shocking.

"It is also unprecedented that a majority of those crossing are abusing the asylum laws and making fraudulent claims to asylum and exploit the loopholes that Congress has refused to close," Homan asserted. "As a 34-year veteran of immigration enforcement, I am extremely concerned about the growing risks to our nation's public safety, national security, and rule of law, due to illegal and uncontrolled immigration."

The former ICE head warned that all Americans – not just those living in border states – should be worried.

"The current crisis extends well beyond our southern border," Homan concluded. "It affects almost every major city in the United States. This just isn't a border crisis – it's a national crisis."

Trump also stressed during a United Nations speech last month how the U.S. must stop illegal immigration.

"Mass illegal migration is unfair, unsafe and unsustainable for everyone involved," Trump declared, according to The Western Journal. "Nearly one-third of women who make the journey north to our border are sexually assaulted along the way; yet, here in the United States and around the world, there is a growing cottage industry of radical activists and non-governmental organizations that promote human smuggling. These groups encourage illegal migration and demand erasure of national borders."

He indirectly addressed pro-immigration Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

"Today, I have a message for those open border activists who cloak themselves in the rhetoric of social justice: Your policies are not just," Trump argued, according to a White House transcript. "Your policies are cruel and evil. You are empowering criminal organizations that prey on innocent men, women and children. You put your own false sense of virtue before the lives, well-being, [of] countless innocent people. When you undermine border security, you are undermining human rights and human dignity."

He also extended advice to aspiring illegal border crossers.

"To anyone considering crossings of our border illegally, please hear these words: Do not pay the smugglers," Trump urged. "Do not pay the coyotes. Do not put yourself in danger. Do not put your children in danger, because if you make it here, you will not be allowed in; you will be promptly returned home. You will not be released into our country. As long as I am president of the United States, we will enforce our laws and protect our borders."


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