Border arrests near 100K in April, highest since 2007

Border arrests near 100K in April, highest since 2007
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Apprehensions and denials of migrants at the nation's southern border hit 109,144 in April, the highest number in a single month since 2007, according to federal data released Wednesday.
 
The figures further illustrate the challenges facing the Trump administration as it seeks to crack down on illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border and prevent a flow of asylum-seekers from entering the U.S.
 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it apprehended 98,977 people and turned away 10,167 others at the U.S.-Mexico border last month, a more than 5 percent increase from March's 92,831 apprehensions and 10,888 turn-aways, according to the released figures.
 
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A majority of those apprehended were traveling in family units, showing a sustained pattern of Central American family migration to the United States despite efforts by the Trump administration to curb such migration.
 
CBP officials apprehended 58,474 people traveling together as families in April, up from 53,205 the previous month.
 
Authorities also captured 8,897 unaccompanied minors — a slight decrease from 8,973 the month prior — as well as 31,606 single adults, compared to 30,653 in March.
 
The total apprehension number is the highest since April 2007, at the height of Mexican mass migration to the United States, when CBP apprehended 105,825 people.
 
Apprehension and turn-away numbers are generally used as a metric for illegal immigration inflows into the United States.
 
But Central American migrants, unlike their predecessors, are prone to voluntarily surrendering to American authorities in order to initiate asylum claims.
 
Still, the massive surge in border apprehensions has overwhelmed CBP — which mans ports of entry — as well as Border Patrol, which is in charge of securing areas between those ports.
 
Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that care for migrant families and minors is hampering the agency's security role.
 
"I joined the Border Patrol nearly 25 years ago because of my strong belief in our border security mission," said Provost.
 
"I could never have envisioned that today agents would spend at least 40 percent of their time as child care professionals, medical care givers, bus drivers and food service workers," she added.
 
The Trump administration has sought to tighten border controls and interior enforcement as a response to the sustained flow of Central American asylum-seekers.
 
And the administration is asking for billions in emergency border funding to compensate for the border agents' increased humanitarian workload.
 
But that's set off a confrontation with congressional Democrats who admit there's a humanitarian crisis at the border, but are reluctant to give President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE money that could be used for enforcement measures they regard as cruel.
 
A senior administration official said Tuesday the White House is pushing forward changes to asylum procedure, giving a wider berth for border agents to prejudge the validity of asylum claims.
 
Rep. Jesús García (D-Ill.) criticized the move Wednesday, saying that "allowing people to make their claim … has been the American way and we should return to that."
 
"There is a humanitarian crisis. It can be dealt with in a humane and orderly way," García added.
 
Updated at 5:10 p.m.