ARRESTS of undocumented immigrants rose and apprehensions along the Southwest border were down significantly last year, authorities have said.
The end-of-year numbers released Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security – DHS, show that there were a total of 310,531 apprehensions by U.S. Border Patrol nationwide – the lowest it has been in at least 17 years.
Of those apprehensions, nearly 98 percent were along the Southwest border. Apprehensions are used as an indicator to measure illegal border crossings.
April 2017 was the month with the lowest border enforcement activity on record, according to US Customs and Border Protection – CBP, which oversees Border Patrol. Since the April-low of 11,127 southwest border apprehensions, the numbers have crept back up.
In September, Border Patrol apprehended 22,537 people attempting to illegally cross the Southwest border. The September, as well end-of-year total numbers were released today as part of the fiscal year report.
Illegal immigration, particularly along the southwest border, “declined sharply” from Jan. 21 to April, said CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello.
CBP in May began to see a “month-over-month increase in apprehensions and inadmissible cases along the Southwest border, notably from children either as part of a family unit or unaccompanied by their parent or legal guardian,” Vitiello said.
By the end of the fiscal year, Border Patrol apprehended 75,622 family members and 41,435 children.
During 2017, approximately 58 percent of apprehensions were of people from countries other than Mexico — primarily from Central America. That’s up from 54 percent last year, according to CBP.
Border security and illegal immigration enforcement have been pillars of Donald Trump’s presidency since taking office in January.
On January 25, Trump signed an executive order that expanded Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s – ICE, enforcement policies and directed the department to no longer exempt any class of undocumented immigrant.
In practice this has meant more arrests and more leeway for agents in the field.
Critics have accused the Trump administration of carrying out heartless policies towards immigrants.