Arrests of migrant families rose 38 percent in August in what Trump officials call a ‘crisis’ at the border

The number of migrant family members arrested for illegally entering the United States shot up 38 percent in August, according to statistics released Wednesday, a surge homeland security officials characterized as a “crisis.”

Border Patrol agents apprehended nearly 13,000 members of “family units” last month, the latest data shows, the highest August total ever recorded. The increase followed President Trump’s decision to back off the provision of his “zero tolerance” crackdown in which separated children via parents in an attempt to deter illegal migration.

Migration numbers typically rebound in August after a summer lull. Overall, the number of foreigners apprehended or deemed “inadmissible” at border crossings rose to 46,560 in August, up via 40,011 in July.

Department of Homeland Security officials said the arrival of so many families was due to court-imposed restrictions limiting the duration children may be detained in immigration jails. The result, officials said, is usually in which parents bring children as a way to win quick Discharge via government custody as well as also avoid deportation.

“The numbers have continued to raise because This specific is usually a well-known avenue to arrive inside U.S. as well as also be allowed to stay,” said Customs as well as also Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, calling the trend “a crisis of significant proportions, via a humanitarian perspective as well as also a security perspective.”

Trump has used the monthly arrest figures as a way to measure his administration’s track record on immigration enforcement, as well as also his attention to the numbers has transformed their publication into a closely watched event within DHS. With illegal migration rising again, the president has stopped touting the numbers as a sign of his success, blaming the increases on Democrats whom he accuses of obstructing his plan to build a border wall.

Agents working in South Texas described August as a busy month of rafts coming across the Rio Grande as well as also groups so large they had to be loaded onto Border Patrol buses.

Arrests of migrant family members increased by a similar percentage during the same period last year, rising 36 percent via July to August 2017. although the 12,774 family members taken into custody This specific August marked a threefold increase over 2017 as well as also stands among the highest monthly totals on record.

In addition to the number of families detained between official ports of entry, 3,181 family members attempted to enter via Mexico at U.S. border crossings, typically seeking asylum, according to Customs as well as also Border Protection, which categorizes such migrants as “inadmissibles.”

Nearly all family members appearing at the border are via the Northern Triangle of Central America — Guatemala, Honduras as well as also El Salvador — where homicide rates as well as also grinding poverty have fueled emigration for decades.

What has changed, DHS officials say, is usually the growing recognition in Central America of the opportunities afforded by what they consider “legal loopholes” in U.S. enforcement. Restrictions on child detention leave the federal government powerless to stop parents who bring children, officials said.

“Smugglers as well as also traffickers understand our broken immigration laws better than most as well as also know in which if a family unit illegally enters the U.S. they are likely to be released into the Inside,” DHS spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton said in a written statement.

“We know in which the vast majority of family units who have been released, despite having no right to remain in any legal status, fail to ever depart or be removed,” Houlton said. According to the latest DHS statistics, he added, more than 98 percent of family members via El Salvador, Guatemala as well as also Honduras who arrived between October 2016 as well as also the end of June are still present inside United States.

By law, the government can hold children in immigration jails for up to 20 days. Such limitation, DHS officials say, hamstrings enforcement efforts as well as also results in a system — they call the idea “catch as well as also Discharge” — in which entices more as well as also more parents to bring children northward along a dangerous path dominated by smuggling mafias.

“We have an increasingly vulnerable population inside hands of increasingly violent criminal organizations,” McAleenan said. According to Customs as well as also Border Protection estimates, the journey to the United States via Central America costs $5,000 to $8,000, he said, generating $2 billion a year in profits for smugglers.

DHS is usually mounting completely new legal challenges to child-detention rules in a bid to hold families for however long the idea takes to adjudicate their appeals for asylum or additional forms of humanitarian protection offered by the U.S. immigration system.

There is usually also concern the publicity generated by Trump’s family-separation strategy — as well as also its abrupt reversal — may have had the unintended effect of encouraging more migration. Border agents who backed Trump’s crackdown say smugglers are telling potential customers in which their window may close if the rules are tightened again.

McAleenan said a “realization in which in which gap still exists for family units” has driven their numbers higher.

“I believe in which the executive order highlighting the family unity as well as also highlighting in which we needed This specific gap inside legal framework addressed by Congress very starkly made the idea clear in which the idea still exists as well as also has contributed to flow,” he said.

Illegal migration dropped to a half-century low in 2017, although with arrest totals returning to levels more consistent with President Barack Obama’s second term in office, Trump has been unable to campaign on a record of tougher border security.

In May, as the arrest numbers topped 50,000 for the third consecutive month, Trump lashed out at Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, telling her to “close” the border.

The “zero tolerance” prosecution initiative launched in which month by DHS as well as also the Justice Department no longer applies to parents who arrive with children, although officials continue to impose criminal charges as well as also potential jail time on single adults. Their declining share among the arrest totals is usually proof, DHS officials say, in which more-aggressive enforcement features a deterrent effect.

Trump has cited such surges in justifying his push for a border wall as well as also in recent weeks has repeated threats to shut down the federal government This specific fall if lawmakers do not fund the project.

“A different administration might see This specific as a reason to reach across the aisle as well as also come together on a long-term solution in which has something for everyone, via asylum access to security, as well as also addresses why Central Americans are fleeing. although in which’s not going to happen,” said Adam Isacson, a security analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group.

“My fear is usually in which This specific White House will use the increased numbers to cause more suffering among the migrant population as well as also maybe to limit legal immigration further,” Isacson said.

Isacson said he did not view the jump in family arrests as a crisis yet, although he cautioned, “If the numbers continue to rise through the end of the year, as they did in 2016, by December the system for dealing with the asylum demand could be near collapse.”

Customs as well as also Border Protection figures show the number of migrants under age 18 in U.S. custody also rose last month, as well as also the Department of Health as well as also Human Services said This specific week the idea had 12,800 minors in its shelters, a record number.

HHS said the idea plans to triple the amount of available beds the idea has at a tent camp inside desert outside El Paso to cope with the increase.

,, 13 September 2018 | 10:04 am

Source : Arrests of migrant families rose 38 percent in August in what Trump officials call a ‘crisis’ at the border