The White House claims that a ‘record-shattering surge’ in immigrant families apprehended at the Southwest border has occurred during the last year, adding that US immigration law loopholes are responsible. Figures released on Wednesday by US Customs and Border Protection show that, in the 2018 fiscal year, which ended in September, over 161,000 immigrant family members were taken into custody or found to be inadmissible on the border.
Since the summer, the number of apprehensions of family units carried out by immigration agents has risen steadily, reaching a record total of over 20,000 last month. This is despite the now abandoned Trump administration policy of separating immigrant families in a bid to deter illegal immigration.
The number of undocumented immigrants, including solo border crossers and family units, remained steady last year, at around 521,000. It was less than the total from the 2017 fiscal year and behind the 1990s and 2000s high levels, when it was routine for over a million apprehensions to be made every year. But, such comparisons are misleading, according to a senior administration official.
During a conference call with reporters, the official said that, before, most immigrants were Mexican adults who could be quickly deported. However, that is no longer the case, with immigrant families and unaccompanied minors from Central America seeking asylum. The official described the situation as an unprecedented crisis.