While the level of border apprehensions of unaccompanied minors and adults traveling with children this fiscal year has dwarfed years past, the month of January saw fewer migrants detained illegally entering the U.S. than months prior.
In January, Customs and Border Patrol apprehended 3,113 unaccompanied minors and 3,145 adults with children, according to new Customs and Border Protection data. There were 23,767 overall apprehensions at the border.
The level of apprehensions represents a decline compared to earlier months. Total apprehensions were down nearly a third compared to December and apprehensions of unaccompanied minors and so-called family units dropped by more than 50 percent.
Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson highlighted the new numbers as representing a decline in attempts to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The decline in apprehensions follows last month’s DHS enforcement actions to remove 121 illegal immigrant family units in the U.S. who crossed the border illegally after May 2014 and had been issued final orders of removal.
The DHS secretary indicated such immigration enforcement actions — though minor compared to the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant arrivals since 2014 — would continue.
“While the one-month decline in January is encouraging, this does not mean we can dial back our border security efforts. Recent enforcement actions, which focus on those apprehended at the border on or after January 1, 2014, will continue,” Johnson said in a statement.
While minor compared to the overall number of illegal immigrants who remain in the U.S., immigration activists and Democrats have decried the enforcement actions, claiming the largely Central American migrants who have illegally immigrated to the U.S. deserve protection.
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