Apprehensions at the Border Are Up, Yet Remain Well Below 2019’s Historic High

Illegal alien apprehensions along America’s southwest border continue to climb for the second month in a row, with June apprehensions exceeding 32,000, more than double those of April. While this is a concerning trend, these levels are well below those of a last year, when in June 2019, apprehensions topped more than 104,000.  

Emergency measures taken at the onslaught of the COVID-19 outbreak – like immediately returning apprehended illegal aliens to the country from where they entered instead of detaining them in holding facilities – have further strengthened deterrence measures against illegal immigration already in place prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. 

These include:  

  1. Safe third country agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that require migrants to seek asylum in the first safe country they pass through, instead of “asylum shopping” their way to the United States.
  2. The “Remain in Mexico” Policy, also known as the Migration Policy Protocols, provides that select classes of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. must wait in Mexico until their immigration hearing date. The policy has all but eliminated the notorious “catch and release” practice, where migrants would be apprehended and released into the interior of the country and never be seen again. This system had been undermining immigration enforcement for decades.
  3. The Border Wall, a strong deterrent not only to illegal immigration but also human and drug trafficking, continues its expansion in key hotspots along the southern border. To date, more than 265 miles of new border wall have been constructed, with a target of roughly 450 miles of new wall being built by the end of the year. 

For those who once believed that controlling our southern border was all but impossible, they’ve been proven wrong, thankfully. The ability to control the movement of people across international borders has been identified by countries across the globe as an essential part of containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong border controls, coupled with strategically placed travel bans, will help ensure the containment, and hopefully more effective control of this virus in the U.S. and abroad.

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