Border apprehensions dropped to 2019 low in September

Border apprehensions dropped to 2019 low in September
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U.S. immigration officials apprehended roughly 52,000 individuals at the United States' border with Mexico during September, the fourth month in a row they have recorded a decline in border apprehensions.

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Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan announced the new figures during a rare briefing at the White House on Tuesday, saying it represented a 65 percent decline from the peak in May of 144,000 apprehensions.

“This is an unprecedented achievement,” Morgan told reporters, crediting the Trump administration’s efforts to secure the border for the decline.

Morgan said the September figure represented the lowest monthly apprehensions in fiscal 2019. 

In August, U.S. immigration authorities apprehended 64,000 people at the southern border.

At the same time, Morgan also announced that the number of migrants taken into custody by U.S. immigration authorities in fiscal 2019 totaled nearly 1 million, marking an 88 percent increase over the previous year.

Morgan criticized Congress for failing to enact legislation to reform the U.S. immigration system and called on lawmakers to act.

“We still need Congress to pass meaningful legislation to address our broken legal framework when it comes to immigration,” he said. “And while Congress has failed to bring a single piece of legislation to the floor, this president, this administration is doing exactly what he promised the American people.”

Morgan emphasized that the flow of migrants needs to be further reduced, saying 1,700 daily apprehensions — what the September figure breaks down to per day — is unacceptable despite the reduction. He said he would like to see the apprehensions reduced to a “manageable” 500 per day.

Morgan also cheered ongoing cooperation from Mexico, which has sent thousands of soldiers to the border to help stem the flow of migrants.

Trump has made securing the border and cracking down on illegal and legal immigration a central part of his administration’s work, including using executive power to limit asylum claims. His immigration policies have earned the president a wealth of criticism from Democrats.

Among the president’s most memorable 2016 campaign promises is his pledge to build a wall at the southern border with Mexico. Trump toured an area of border barrier construction during a campaign swing through California last month, emphasizing the wall’s effectiveness while maintaining that the crisis at the southern border remains a “tremendous national emergency.”

Morgan told reporters Tuesday that 71 miles of a border wall had been constructed and that administration officials expect to complete roughly 440 miles of the barrier by the end of 2020.

Morgan also acknowledged that the new wall construction had taken place in areas where old border barrier already existed. 

Updated at 12:27 p.m.