Apprehensions of illegal aliens along America’s southern border during fiscal 2020 ran well below last year’s total, but the numbers are trending back up.
COVID-19 sharply reduced illegal border crossings in April and May. Apprehensions totaled 40,380 for those two months, compared with 253,531 during the same period in 2019.
Since then, encounters with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been climbing, though still under last year’s levels. With September’s final figures pending, illegal crossings for the fiscal year were on track to be the lowest since 2017.
Coronavirus notwithstanding, border-security agreements between the U.S. and Central American governments and Mexico have chilled some illicit travel plans.
As FAIR recently reported, more than 3,000 economic migrants started out from Honduras last month bound for America. Unlike previous caravans, this attempt at an organized large-scale incursion disbanded before it could get to Mexico.
Lower migrant numbers and changing demographics — fewer families and more single adults — are freeing up CBP agents to intercept more narcotics.
The resource-intensive tasks of attending to family migrants, including medical treatment and even changing diapers, hampered CBP’s ability to halt the flow of illegal drag traffic into the country.
Notably, seizures of the deadly drug fentanyl fell 43 percent between 2018 and 2019. By July 2020, however, fentanyl seizures were already at 198 percent of last year’s total. In addition, CBP seizures of currency, which fuels illicit drug activity, are 10 percent higher than a year ago.
“Lower numbers of aliens entering illegally — and especially fewer children and adults traveling with children — is freeing up Border Patrol agents to focus on their core mission of protecting the American people in the interior of the United States. We are all safer for their efforts,” concluded a report by the Center for Immigration Studies.
It goes to show how fewer illegal aliens can be a net benefit to the country in more ways than one.