Almost 409,000 undocumented immigrants were apprehended at the US border in the 2016 fiscal year. This is a rise of around 331,000 from 2015. Officials with the Department of Homeland Security say that the rise in arrests means that there will also have been a rise in the number of undocumented immigrants who avoided them and entered the US.
The number of undocumented immigrants traveling as families hit a new record of 77,654. The figure for unaccompanied minors also increased, by almost 60,000 but fell short of the 2014 record. Significant progress was made by the Obama administration in 2015 in securing the border against illegal immigration. Numbers fell to the lowest point recorded since the 1970s, but 2016 saw things change for the worse again.
Asylum claims have spiked and many analysts have blamed this more relaxed enforcement under President Barack Obama. Would-be immigrants and cartels have worked out how to use this enforcement to their advantage. Deportations also fell drastically during Obama’s second term in the White House, with analysts expecting the not yet released final numbers for 2016 to mark the fourth consecutive year of falling removals.
Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, says that they are attempting to balance several competing factors. These include the deportation of new arrivals as well as allowing those with genuine humanitarian claims the chance to state their case. He added that the border needs more technology and equipment.