Families set new record for illegal immigration
Illegal immigration across the southwest border actually ticked down in December though the number of illegal immigrant families still shattered records with nearly 32,000 caught trying to jump the border, officials said Wednesday.
The 31,901 parents and children traveling together and nabbed by Border Patrol agents last month is a 27 percent increase over November, and is nearly twice the worst months of the Obama years.
But other categories of illegal immigrants dropped, with fewer unaccompanied children caught at the border or stopped at the ports of entry, Homeland Security said.
The numbers came a day after President Trump delivered his first Oval Office address, asking Congress to pony up money for more border security, including more than $5 billion to erect border fencing.
On Thursday Mr. Trump will travel to Texas to get a look at the border sector that’s been most heavily affected by the recent surge of illegal immigrant children and families.
The fact that Texas, rather than Arizona or California, is now the center of illegal immigration is just one of a number of changes officials are grappling with.
One major reason for the shift is that illegal immigration from Mexico has almost ceased, and instead has been replaced with migrants from Central America who take advantage of more lax treatment at the border, compared to Mexicans.
Homeland Security said 77 percent of the families caught in December were from Guatemala and Honduras.
And December was also just the third time on record that families outnumbered single adult migrants.
All told, agents arrested 50,753 people who tried to sneak into the U.S. between the ports of entry, while Customs and Border Protection officers encountered another 10,029 people who tried to enter without permission through official border crossings.
Both numbers are down slightly from November.
The ratio is important, however.
Democrats argue that the borders are mostly secure and that the ports of entry are the places that still need shoring up.
The new numbers, however, showed that 84 percent of illegal immigrants who were caught trying to enter had come in between the ports of entry.