Southern border apprehensions increased by roughly 90 percent between April and June totaling to 32,512 last month, according to the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.
The increase is a surprise to many as the Trump administration’s emergency immigration restrictions remain in place to curb the flows of illegal migration to the border.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented Title 42, which is a provision that allows for the immediate removal of illegal aliens. It has also postponed asylum hearings under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which require migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico until their court hearing arrives.
The upward trend is also surprising given the economic turmoil resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Illegal immigration is largely driven by better economic opportunities in the United States, but the demand for cheap labor has significantly decreased as employers file for unemployment and are short on cash.
Even more surprising, illegal migration tends to plateau or decrease during the late spring/summer months as extreme temperatures place too much of a burden on traveling migrants. Instead, the opposite is occurring.
June apprehensions increased by 15,000 from April and roughly 10,000 from last month. While the figures are headed in the wrong direction, they are still significantly lower than at the same time last year. In June 2019, apprehensions hovered at 104,000—more than three times what was witnessed this past month.
So why are these surges occurring? There isn’t a clear explanation, but there are incentives that remain in place for illegal aliens. These include coronavirus financial relief in some states, improved coronavirus health care, and legislation from open borders lawmakers that seek to end deportations and grant citizenship to virtually all illegal aliens in the country.
Regardless, the trend reveals the need for enhanced border security—which members of Congress continue to neglect. Recently, members of the House of Representatives introduced legislation to block funding to the border wall and to strip away resources including detention facilities and illegal alien information from immigration authorities.
Rather than depleting these resources, border resources must be replenished and expanded. This includes building more border wall, increasing personnel deployed along the border, and providing more funding for technology and other necessary resources to effectively patrol and deter migrants from entering the country illegally.
While the two month increase of border apprehensions may be an anomaly, it is imperative for Congress and the Trump administration to quickly address this unexpected trend to help avoid another border crisis like in 2019.