The numbers of apprehensions on the US border are already exceeding the record highs witnessed in the 2014 fiscal year, and more could be coming, according to an immigration advocate. Kids in Need of Defense President Wendy Young has told the New York Times that her organization is concerned that the numbers could reach anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 immigrant minors coming into the country this year.
A heavy influx of undocumented and unaccompanied minors has been crossing the southern border into the United States, largely from Central America, in recent years, reaching record levels in the 2014 fiscal year when over 68,445 families and 68,541 unaccompanied immigrant minors were apprehended by Customs and Border Patrol. Most of these who were caught trying to illegally enter the United States remain in the country awaiting their day in immigration court.
However, a number of observers remain worried that that the 2015 fiscal year could end up exceeding that of its predecessor. Border Patrol data indicates that 27,754 unaccompanied undocumented immigrant minors were apprehended trying to enter the United States illegally within the first six months of the 2015 fiscal year, a figure 78 percent higher than in the same time frame the previous year, where just 15,616 were apprehended. A further 32,117 immigrant adults traveling with minors were caught in the same period, also increasing from 2014 by as much as 62 percent.
Advocates and Democrats say the surge is being caused by poverty and violence in Central American nations, but Republicans and others say the rise corresponds to the Obama administration’s lax immigration enforcement.