Border apprehensions drop 14 percent in October

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U.S. immigration officials apprehended just more than 42,000 individuals at the southern border with Mexico in October, acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said Thursday, marking a drop from the previous month and a sharp decline from earlier this year.

“This represents an overall decrease of almost 70 percent since the peak in May of this year,” Morgan told reporters at the White House, crediting the Trump administration’s “bold” actions for the decline. “This is a significant decline.”

The new figure represents a 14 percent decline since September, when officials apprehended 52,000 individuals at the border.{mosads} 

Still, Morgan described the current situation as a continuing “crisis.” He criticized Congress for failing to pass immigration reform legislation and knocked “judicial activism” for undermining the Trump administration’s agenda to curb the number of immigrants coming into the U.S.

“In the continued absence of congressional action,” Morgan said, “the president along with his administration as well as the hard-working men and women of the Customs and Border Protection and our partner agencies has taken action.”

His comments appeared to be a response to lawmakers who have argued that President Trump has devoted too many resources toward the southern border, particularly by declaring a national emergency to fund his long-promised border wall.

“While we made great progress there still remains a humanitarian crisis at our southern border, and more importantly a national security crisis along our southern border as well,” Morgan said.

“Both crises are interconnected and they have to be attacked that way.”

Morgan has previously said an acceptable number of apprehensions would be roughly 500 per day, a figure that many experts view as unrealistic. Morgan said Thursday that currently U.S. officials are seeing about 1,300 apprehensions per day, which he continued to describe as unacceptable.

While September had the fewest monthly apprehensions in fiscal 2019, the number of migrants taken into custody by U.S. immigration authorities during the last fiscal year totaled almost 1 million — an 88 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.

Apprehensions typically peak in the spring, when the weather is more hospitable for those seeking to travel to the border, only to decline amid the heat of the summer months and the cold of the winter months. This year, apprehensions peaked in May with more than 130,000 migrants taken into custody. Those numbers have steadily declined each month since.

On Thursday, Morgan also touted the cooperation from Mexico and other Northern Triangle countries with helping to stem the flow of migrants across the U.S. southern border. 

Morgan also addressed the president’s continued efforts to build a wall at the southern border, telling reporters that 78 miles of barrier had been built at this stage. 

Morgan acknowledged that the 78 miles of wall have been built in areas where there was “an existing form of barrier” and that the administration is now breaking construction on areas where there was no existing barrier. 

Trump has made building the wall a central prong of his administration’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration; the wall was a central promise of Trump’s first presidential campaign and often inspires chants at his rallies.

— This report was updated at 11:26 a.m.

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