Last month almost 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant minors were apprehended illegally crossing the border between Mexico and the United States. This is almost twice the amount caught in October 2014, according to new figures released on Tuesday by US Customs and Border Protection.
The figures also show that the amount of family members crossing the border together has increased, almost tripling in number from 2,162 in October 2014 to 6,029 in October 2015. Illegal immigration has become of the biggest and most controversial topic in the fight to stand for president next year, particularly in the Republican Party. Real estate magnet Donald Trump has even been calling for the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants − an approach dismissed as impractical by critics.
The numbers have increased despite the colder weather, which led to expectations that the winter months would see the opposite happen. Efforts by the authorities in Mexico to stop the flood of Central American immigrants heading to the United States and increased border security have also failed to stem the tide. Tens of thousands of immigrants came to the US from Central America in the summer of 2014; however, the figure had fallen by almost 50% during the 2015 fiscal year, which came to a close at the end of September.
The 4,973 unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border in October is the largest number for the month since records began in 2009, according to Washington Office on Latin America thinktank senior analyst and border expert Adam Isacson.