After a fall in the recorded number of undocumented immigrants trying to cross the border between the United States and Mexico over the winter months, traffic may once more be on the rise. Border Patrol has released new statistics showing an increase in the amount of immigrants apprehended in March in the southwest in comparison to the same time period last year.
Compared to February, March saw an additional 7,529 border crossing and apprehensions, with the agency reporting that out of the total 33,335 apprehensions, 4,452 were members of the same family all trying to cross the border at the same time. The increase is largely because of immigrants using Mexico to cross into the United States after leaving Central America, which follows controversial attempts by the Obama administration earlier in the year to apprehend and deport such immigrants already in the country.
The effort initially appeared to have made a dent in the rate of illegal immigration, and last month the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, explicitly mentioned the controversial raids while praising February’s lower statistics. Although the numbers have increased again, they are still lower than those of March 2014.
Human rights and immigration activists alike slammed the deportation raids, saying they were sending people back to Central America who left because they feared for their lives and arguing that those fleeing gang violence and similar dangers should be treated as refugees rather than undocumented immigrants.