(Photo Credit: The Associated Press)
The end-of-Fiscal Year 2015 illegal immigration numbers are in.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data updated Wednesday, CBP apprehended a grand total of 39,970 unaccompanied alien minors crossing the Southwest U.S. border in FY2015. That’s a 42 percent decrease from the 68,541 UACs they caught at the border in FY2014.
CBP also reports it apprehended 39,838 family units in FY2015 – down 42 percent from 68,445 in FY2014.
The year-end numbers ended on a surge, as the number of illegal alien kids being caught at the border steadily increased as the months ticked by. August proved to be the month with the highest apprehension numbers at 4,632 UACs – or about 149 per day. September wasn’t too far behind at 4,476 UACs (also about 149 per day).
Likewise, CBP agents saw an increase in the number of family units crossing the border illegally, apprehending 5,182 in the month of September alone.
CBP officials released a statement along with the updated data, blaming violence and poverty in Central America for the steady flow of illegal migrants while promising they are “closely monitoring this situation.” The agency also advocated for more U.S. “investment” in Central America to help improve the region’s economic outlook.
From the statement:
Apprehensions of unaccompanied children (UAC) and family units in Fiscal Year 2015 were significantly lower compared to the number of apprehensions of FY 2014, with a 42 percent decrease in both categories. Overall, total apprehensions across our entire Southwest border remain at near-historic lows.
However, over the last several months of FY 2015, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has registered an increase in the number of unaccompanied children and family units apprehended along the southwest border compared to levels in 2012 and 2013. While this is not entirely inconsistent with historical trends for these months, DHS is closely monitoring this situation along with its interagency partners.
El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala make up the majority of UAC and family unit apprehensions, and general conditions related to the economy and violence in those countries continue to serve as push factors leading to migration northward. Our renewed public awareness campaign continues to distribute information to Central American and Mexican communities emphasizing the dangers of the journey, dispelling misinformation about our immigration policies, and underscoring that those attempting to come here illegally are a top priority for removal.
We are aware that smugglers, or “coyotes,” often use misinformation about current immigration policies and practices to lure individuals seeking to cross the border illegally to employ their services.
We are closely monitoring current trends and coordinating across the whole of government to ensure an effective response to any changes in migration flows. We continue to aggressively work to secure our borders, address underlying causes and deter future increases in unauthorized migration, while ensuring that those with legitimate humanitarian claims are afforded the opportunity to seek protection.
We believe that an investment in Central America is an investment in our border security. Congressional action on the Administration’s funding request to support significant security, good governance, and prosperity reforms in Central America remains critical to making longer-term progress in stemming the flow of Central American migrants across the Southwest border, so that we do not find ourselves in a similar situation in years to come.
CBP’s most recent numbers come on the same day that U.S. Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera told a congressional committee he estimates border agents only catch about 40 percent of all illegal immigrants coming into the United States unlawfully.