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Border encounters return to traditional levels after spike in 2019

Border encounters return to traditional levels after spike in 2019
© Aaron Schwartz

Southwest border encounters have returned to traditional levels following a spike in 2019, according to a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) report released Wednesday.

CBP reported that encounters with people crossing the border illegally decreased 53 percent in the 2020 fiscal year, with 458,088 people encountered, down from 977,509 in the 2019 fiscal year, according to a press release.

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan and Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez released the statistics report for the 2020 fiscal year on Wednesday, detailing the massive decrease in encounters with undocumented immigrants along the Arizona-Mexico border.

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The border protection agency also reported single adult males from Mexico accounted for 56 percent of migrants encounters this year, compared to last year when 64 percent came from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

"Single adults accounted for 77 percent of the total encounters this year, compared to 38 percent last year," the agency added.

The reports come more than year after President TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus MORE called on the Mexican government to halt massive caravans of over 20,000 people from passing through Mexico, which resulted in Mexican police detaining hundreds of migrants.

Trump's measures on immigration have extended into this year and in June he visited San Luis, Ariz., to mark the construction of the 200th mile of the border wall.

CBP reported that human smugglers "continue to place migrants in harm's way," noting the dangers of "loading large numbers of migrants into perilously hot, crowded trailers designed for cargo and animal transport, with no ventilation, no food or water, and typically no means of escape."

The agency also reported decreases in drug interception at the border. Cocaine interceptions decreased by 43 percent, and heroin seizures fell 7 percent.

However, other drug seizures spiked; fentanyl seizures increased by 71 percent and methamphetamine seizures rose by 25 percent.