Migrant apprehensions drop in El Paso, but still higher than last year


Decline mirrors borderwide trend since Mexico deployed soldiers to stop immigrant caravans

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Migrant apprehensions in the El Paso Sector fell for a second consecutive month, but the totals continue to reflect a sharp increase from a year ago.

According to a sector-by-sector report released this week by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the number of family units detained in the El Paso Sector between Oct. 1, 2018, and July 31 of this year is up 1,510 percent over the same period last year. The number of unaccompanied minors is also up 249% and single-adult detentions are 137 percent higher than the same period last year.

Such percentages last week prompted Border Patrol interim Sector Chief Gloria Chavez and Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan to publicly state that the migrant crisis “isn’t over.”

In the El Paso Sector, 11,595 migrants were detained in July, compared to 18,883 in June and 38,644 in May. That comes up to 374 detentions per day or 16 per hour in July, compared to 1,247 daily apprehensions in May, or 52 per hour.

Along the entire Southwest border, authorities reported 71,999 migrant apprehensions in July, compared to 94,908 in June and 132,870 in May. Most of the families detained at the border so far this year are from Honduras or Guatemala (348,398) as are the unaccompanied minors (47,352). Mexicans, however, make up the largest group of single adults apprehended (124,543) so far this Fiscal Year.

El Paso runs second to the Rio Grande Valley Sector in unaccompanied minor and family unit apprehensions but ranks fifth in the Southwest border when it comes to single adult detentions, with 27,172 so far this Fiscal Year.

Migrant apprehensions typically dip by about 15 percent in the summer but have fallen more than 43 percent since May. The decline coincides with Mexico deploying soldiers to its border with Guatemala and aggressively enforcing its immigration laws since a June 7 deal struck with the Trump administration, which threatened that country with tariffs of up to 25 percent on its exports to the United States if it did not stop migrant caravans originating in Central America.

“Although our apprehensions have gone down 43 percent (since May) and we have cooperation with Mexico and all the Northern Triangle nations, make no mistake: We are still at crisis levels,” said acting CBP commissioner Morgan last week during a tour of the new Tornillo, Texas Border Patrol holding station. “Our daily apprehensions are hovering between 2,300 and 2,500 a day. Our threshold for crisis levels is 1,000 a day, so we are still beyond a crisis level.”

In Juarez, Mexican officials on Tuesday reported that Cuban and Central American migrants continue to arrive at the border in search of political asylum in the United States, but at much smaller numbers than just two months ago. On Monday, just over 50 migrants came to the Migrant Assistance Center in Juarez, and most of them were from Southern Mexico, center officials said.

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The mission of BorderReport.com is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.