Southwest border apprehensions fall again in April

Southwest border apprehensions fall again in April
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Apprehensions of undocumented immigrants along the U.S.'s southwest border dropped to 11,129 in April, continuing a general decline in crossings since President Trump took office.

The number of apprehensions in April fell 8.7 percent from March, a break from the usual seasonal patterns. In previous years, border apprehensions tended to rise during the spring and summer months.

The figures on apprehensions are generally considered the best measure of how many people are attempting to cross the border illegally.

The April numbers continue a pattern seen since January, in which apprehensions and inadmissible — people turned away at ports of entry — plummeted sharply from past years.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported 4,651 people were turned away in April, a 5.6 percent uptick from March. Compared to April of 2016, the total number of apprehensions and people turned back at the border plummeted 67.5 percent, from 48,502 to 15,780.

Trump administration officials attribute the trend to increased enforcement at the border and in the interior of the country.

"Changes in our enforcement policy and the way we’re going about business, we believe, has deterred people," said David Lapan, a spokesman for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly.

"As the secretary has said before, there are people in Central America watching and waiting to see what happens rather than making the decision to taking the journey north," Lapan added.

Yearly apprehensions reached their all-time high in 2000, when 1,643,679 people were caught illegally crossing the border. In 2016, 408,870 were apprehended.

The CBP does not release monthly numbers from before 2012, but if current trends continue, 2017's apprehension numbers would easily be the lowest in that five-year period.

The agency recently received funding from Congress to hire an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents. 

Lapan said that's the current hiring goal, but "that goal can be adjusted as time goes on."