If you ever needed another argument for a border wall, just look at fiscal year 2019’s (FY19) border apprehension numbers. The U.S. hasn’t seen this level of apprehensions since former president George W. Bush was in office.
According to federal data obtained by the Washington Examiner, “approximately 851,000 people” were taken into custody along the U.S./Mexico border during FY19. This is the highest number of apprehensions since 2007. However, as the Examiner noted, the trend of months with during FY19 with over 100,000 apprehensions has thankfully seen a downturn in recent months (“roughly 40,000” in September). While apprehensions of people attempting to cross the border illegally is a good thing, high numbers put a strain on border patrol agents.
The Examiner reported:
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. U.S. Customs and Border Protection [CBP], the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] agency that oversees these figures, is expected to release this and related data in a few weeks.
As of Aug. 31, another 263,000 people were encountered at ports by the Office of Field Operations, a component of CBP[…]
These numbers do not 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.
Hopefully, the trend of “roughly 40,000” apprehensions a month continues. The overwhelming majority of apprehensions happen along the Southern border. During fiscal year 2018 (FY18), which was President Donald Trump’s first full fiscal year in the White House, 98 percent of the 404,142 “Total Illegal Alien Apprehensions” occurred along the Southwest Border.
The spring and summer months typically see the highest totals of apprehensions each fiscal year. So, it’ll be interesting to see if the downturn in apprehensions seen in September will continue into fiscal year 2020’s spring and summer. We can only hope, because over 100,000 apprehensions a month isn’t sustainable for long periods of time.
Are low numbers a case of people being afraid to cross illegally, or are high numbers better as an indication that we're policing our borders in a more strict fashion? Or could it be argued that lower numbers are better, with the reason possibly being that people are less emboldened to intentionally break the law as their first act on American soil? Either way, whether low or high numbers are better, as long as whatever numbers present themselves lead to a check on how many people the U.S. is allowing to stay in the country illegally, it could be construed as a net positive.
Immigration isn't bad, as long as there is a check and balance on how many people are allowed to enter the U.S. Illegal immigration is, however, not a positive. Why? Because it's illegal.