UAM Numbers are Down, But Not for the Reason Politico Claims

childrenborderPolitico’s immigration reporter Seung Min Kim has quite the theory on the recent decline in apprehensions of unaccompanied alien minors (UAMs) and family units. Never one to bury the lead, Kim concludes the first sentence of the article with the cause of the decline: the decrease began “soon after the Obama administration launched controversial raids targeting immigrants who had recently crossed the border.”

First, the facts. Kim correctly notes that apprehensions have declined from December to January: 54% decline in UAMs and 65% decline in family unit apprehensions. Indeed, an official DHS press release says exactly that.

Now to the claim that the enforcement “raids” can be credited with the decline. Kim, of course, is referring to the limited enforcement effort by the Obama administration at the end of December that nabbed only 121 illegal aliens with only 77 having actually been deported. By comparison, over 300,000 UAMs and family units have streamed over the border unlawfully since 2013 meaning. Raids indeed!

And if you think Kim is unaware of the 77 and 121 numbers, she cites them at the end of her article.

Unlike her conclusion, she does bury the actual reason for the decline in her piece. “It may be too premature to cite a connection between the administration’s raids… and the drop in numbers,” begins a paragraph midway through the article. Here’s the kicker: “The cold winter weather could also play a key role, and it would take some time for the news of the raids… to travel down to Central America, where most of the immigrants are coming from.” (emphasis added)

Did you catch that? Not only does she acknowledge that unlawful border crossings historically decrease in the winter, she suggests that news of the “raids” might not have had time to reach Central America!

Not even DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is drinking the Kool-Aid that Politico is gulping down. In the press release announcing the new apprehension figures, Johnson clearly says “While the one-month decline in January is encouraging, this does not mean we can dial back our border security efforts.”

Kim, who includes the same quote in her article, quickly transitions to calling the decrease “good news” for the Obama administration and never readdresses her grand proclamation of the cause. A proclamation she debunks within her own piece.

Never let the facts get in the way of a predetermined conclusion.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    Thanks, Robert, for pointing out the absurd bias in Kim’s article. You could also have noted her inaccurate use of the word “immigrants” to refer to illegal aliens.

    Regarding the numbers, DHS and Kim both assume that border apprehensions accurately measure the number of illegal border crossings. Of course, a decrease in apprehensions could just as well be due to more lax control of the border, But granting their assumption, one need only observe that apprehensions were up 10% from the same month a year earlier, thus demolishing the theory that the “raids” were a deterrent. Specifically, in January 2015, there were 21,514 Southwest Border apprehensions (source:, while in January 2016, there were 23,767 (source:

    Comparing the FY 2016 year-to-date (October 2015 through January 2016) to the same period a year earlier, one sees that UAC apprehensions were up 102% and family unit apprehensions were up 171% (source: That is hardly an indication that illegal border crossings by families and unaccompanied children are dropping due to deterrence, as implied by DHS and Kim.

  2. avatar

    So Jeh Johnson says “this does not mean we can dial back our border security efforts.” Their “efforts” at the border are highly debatable, but what does he propose to do about those who overstay their visas? His own agency said it was half a million people last year alone. [so much for those declining numbers of illegals in the country.]

    Which begs the question what is going to be done about that fact? As long as we continue to reward overstays with no deportations and promises of eventual citizenship they are not leaving and more will come. We need e-verify for every job. Now. The system is up and running and, in spite of all the lies by open border advocates, no more inconvenience and expense to a business than a grocery store checking your credit card. And if your number doesn’t check you get a certain period to straighten it out, and you are by law able to begin working.

    Bit of a bias on the Today Show this morning at 7 with the discussion of Trump’s charges that Cruz cheated in the Iowa caucus. What Trump actually was mad about was never spelled out. Instead we got a reporter who said of the charges, “there’s no there there.” But both Trump and Ben Carson were angry that the Cruz campaign sent out an email that Carson was suspending his campaign and Cruz’s people approached Carson people at the caucuses and told them that they should come over to Cruz. But Carson had not done that.

      • avatar

        Cruz apologized to Carson. The thing I did not like about the Today Show was that they didn’t report the actual facts. Instead it was some reporter spinning it and saying it was nothing. Let the viewers hear both sides and make up their minds.

    • avatar

      Yes, all employers should be required to use E-Verify to not only screen all prospective employees, but also to check on the legal status of all current employees.

      If such a policy were implemented and enforced, many illegals would self-deport. The result would be a lower domestic population level, along with a corresponding increase in wages and overall quality of life for many Americans.

  3. avatar

    700 Out of 300K

    A 0.2% Deportation Rate is the new severe enforcement implementation by Obama?

    Now I’m rolling around the ground in laughter [crying won’t help].

    • avatar

      regarding ms kim’s article first i’m embarrassed for my wife who is also, like ms Kim, of Korean heritage..but unlike ms Kim , my wife has not consumed the liberal Obama Kool aide ; second, like my favorite radio host always says ” liberalism is a mental disorder”. Ms Kim’s article is more proof of his theorem …