Fiscal year 2016 ended with a proverbial bang at the Southwest U.S. border, as U.S. Customs and Border Protection report September was the second worst month for illegal alien apprehensions in all of FY2016. Another 39,501 people were caught crossing into the United States illegally last month, including another 9,609 members of family units and 5,699 unaccompanied children.
In its final monthly report for FY2016, agents at the Southwest U.S. border claim they caught nearly 409,000 illegal aliens unlawfully crossing into the United States since last Oct. 1, roughly 23 percent more than the 331,333 that CBP officials say they caught in FY2015.
Agents added they caught another 59,692 unaccompanied alien children in FY2016, averaging out to about 164 children per day. That’s an alarming spike of roughly 49 percent over FY2015 numbers, when just under 40,000 children were apprehended at the Mexico border.
But perhaps most alarming was the massive surge in family units caught illegally crossing the border in the last 12 months. Since last October, border agents say they’ve apprehended a whopping 77,674 members of family units coming into the United States unlawfully through Mexico, roughly double the 39,838 agents caught in FY2015.
Family unit apprehensions last year were also about 13 percent higher than those in FY2014, when a massive spike in child border crossings caught the nation’s attention.
In a statement accompanying the final FY2016 report, Sec. of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson continued to tout the Obama administration’s commitment toward allowing large portions of illegal alien border crossers to remain in the country, including “providing individuals with an opportunity to assert claims for asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief.” Johnson added:
We’re also establishing an in-country referral program in countries of origin including Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. This program enables vulnerable residents in the region to be considered for refugee protection in the United States after being screened and interviewed by DHS officers.
We have also announced an expansion of the categories of individuals eligible for participation in our Central American Minors program when accompanied by a qualified child. We promote and encourage use of these programs.
Johnson said DHS is urging Congress to provide even greater aid funding for Central American countries, who received $750 in U.S. taxpayer dollars this past fiscal year. And, while claiming that “border security alone” is not a solution and that “walls alone cannot prevent illegal migration,” Johnson simultaneously said Congress should continue making “smart investments” in border security at the expense of the taxpayer’s wallet.