U.S. Customs and Border Protection had another record-breaking month at the Southwest border in August, during which agents caught 5,804 unaccompanied alien children (UACs) and 9,359 members of family units crossing from Mexico unlawfully.
This makes August the worst month for UAC/family units crossings so far in 2016, and the second-highest apprehension rate for those groups this fiscal year. Last month’s apprehension totals surpassed the previous 2016 record set in July, when 12,570 UACs and family members crossed the border.
But unaccompanied children and family units aren’t the only folks hopping, skipping and jumping across the Rio Grande – a river so shallow it’s easily stepped over in some areas. CBP reports agents apprehended 21,894 single adults in August, bringing the total number of apprehensions last month to a staggering 37,057 – equating to about 1,195 people apprehended per day.
So far, CBP reports it’s caught 369,522 illegal alien border-crossers so far in FY2016, including 54,052 unaccompanied alien children and 68,080 members of family units.
The remaining 247,390 individuals – about 67 percent of the total – were single adults.
The number of unaccompanied children who’ve crossed so far in FY2016 aw a 57 percent increase over the number that crossed during the first 11 months of FY2015, while the number of family members who crossed together in FY2016 is roughly double those that crossed in FY2015.
The number of family member border crossers apprehended this year is also is guaranteed to surpass those that crossed over the same time period in 2014, when the border crisis caught national attention.
Despite claiming that our borders are not open to illegal immigration, the Obama administration continues to tout policies clearly stating that those who make it to America will be allowed to stay, so long as they claim a fear of persecution in their home countries. Along with its August apprehension numbers, CBP included this tidbit from Obama's Department of Homeland Security regarding President Obama's in-country refugee program for Central Americans:
We also recognize the need to provide a safe, alternative path to our country for individuals in need of humanitarian protection. Recently, the Government of Costa Rica announced its agreement to enter into a protection transfer arrangement with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration to help address this regional migration challenge. For cases not requiring immediate transfer to Costa Rica, the U.S. is establishing an in-country referral program in countries of origin including Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. This will enable vulnerable residents in the region to be considered for refugee protection in the United States after being screened and interviewed by Department of Homeland Security officers. The U.S. Government has also announced expansion of the categories of individuals eligible for participation in the Central American Minors program, when accompanied by a qualified child. Further information is available here.
While we believe this expanded capacity for refugee processing is an important step, we recognize the ultimate solution to the humanitarian situation in Central America is long-term investment to address the underlying conditions there. We continue to work closely with our federal partners and the governments in the region, and we are pleased with the $750 million in support Congress provided this year in aid to Central America.