Happy Halloween: Scary Immigration Figures from Fiscal Year 2019



FY 2019 just ended and the southern border experienced a record year for apprehensions. From stopping several caravans consisting of thousands of would-be illegal aliens, to intercepting several thousand pound shipments of contraband, immigration authorities had their hands full to say the least. In the spirit of Halloween, here are some scary immigration figures from FY 2019:

1) More than 150,000 illegal aliens evaded the Border Patrol while crossing the border.

  • Also known as “got-aways,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Chief Mark Morgan said this estimate may be conservative and that many of these individuals already had previous criminal convictions.

2) Roughly one million migrants were apprehended at the southern border—the largest figure in 13 years.

  • This figure is the largest total for a fiscal year since 2006. But unlike 2006, when nearly all of those apprehended were quickly removed, the majority who were caught in FY 2019 were released into the U.S. The surge in migrants resulted from the nation’s political asylum loopholes and lucrative perks such as welfare and sanctuaries offered by open borders politicians.

3) Several thousand migrants crossing over the southern border had outstanding wants or warrants.

  • U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 4,153 criminal aliens with outstanding wants or warrants in FY 2019. This is roughly a 170 percent increase from FY 2018 and is most likely an underestimate due to the lack of information sharing from the governments of foreign nationals.

4) Seizures of hard drugs such as cocaine, meth, heroin, and fentanyl all increased from FY 2018.

  • CBP officials seized more than 89,000 pounds of cocaine, 68,000 pounds of meth, 5,400 pounds of heroin, and 2,545 pounds of fentanyl this fiscal year. Cocaine seizures increased by 73 percent from the previous fiscal year —the largest of any drug category.

5) Criminal gangs crossed into the country illegally at record rates.

  • U.S. Border Patrol apprehended roughly 1,000 gang members in FY 2019, which is the highest total since 2015 when CBP first began keeping records of this category. MS-13 members represented nearly half of these apprehensions. 

Despite these ghostly trends, the southern border has an opportunity to see major improvements in FY 2020. Thanks to the administration’s implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MMPs), a program that deters asylum seekers with frivolous claims and effectively ends “catch and release,” apprehensions should decrease over time.

Let’s also not forget about the administration’s deal making with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries. Mexico has stepped up its interior enforcement by deporting thousands of illegal aliens and sending thousands of its troops to secure its southern border. The Northern Triangle countries have also signed onto asylum cooperation agreements to curb migration flows. These actions should also help decrease apprehension figures and the nation may see tremendous progress come next Halloween.

About Author

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Matthew joined FAIR in 2018 as FAIR’s communications specialist. Matthew is a primary media contact for the organization and assists with all of the organization’s communication activities. He brings previous experience in government research, writing, and communications. Before joining FAIR, Matthew worked in the Wisconsin State Senate as well as a Wisconsin political non-profit. Matthew holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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