Sharp increase in undocumented minor immigrants

The number of undocumented minors entering the US illegally via its southern border increased by as much as 49 percent last year, according to Washington officials. On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security revealed that as many as 56,962 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at the US-Mexico border in the 2015 fiscal year. This number compares to 39,970 in the 2014 fiscal year.

A total of 408, 870 adults and minors were apprehended at the border, which is a rise of 23 percent compared to the previous year, the DHS says. Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, says that although there is an increase in the numbers of undocumented immigrants trying to cross into the US, this is small compared to the figures from the 1980s through to 2008.

Johnson says that there are fewer single adults and Mexicans attempting to cross the border illegally. There are more unaccompanied minors and families fleeing from the violence and poverty in Central America. The agency says that more Central Americans than Mexicans have been apprehended at the border for the second time in a three-year period.

The rise in the number of undocumented immigrants trying to enter the US comes after attempts to stem the surge – often blamed on gang violence and poverty in their home countries – with Central American allies. Johnson also called for Congress to move on the issue of immigration reform.