WASHINGTON — Acting Customs and Border Patrol Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan announced apprehensions at the southwest border declined for the fourth month in a row — but only after the total number for the past 12 months hit nearly 1 million.
During remarks delivered in the White House briefing room, Morgan said the nearly 1 million migrants apprehended at the border created “numbers that no immigration system in the world is designed to handle.”
The precise number of border encounters for fiscal 2019 was 977,509, according to Customs and Border Protection — and that includes a record number of families, as opposed to single adult males.
Morgan estimated that an additional 150,000 migrants eluded apprehension — “that’s nearly 13,000 each month.”
He credited President Donald Trump’s commitment to stanching the flow of unauthorized immigrants, as well as cooperating with Mexico and the Northern Triangle nations — El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — to discourage economic migrants from making the difficult trek to the U.S. border.
Under the Migrant Protection Protocols, often referred to as the “remain in Mexico” program by critics, migrants from the Northern Triangle must wait in Mexico as they seek asylum in the United States.
The Latin American Working Group opposes that policy, saying it “restricts migrants’ access to legal representation, basic services and shelter while waiting in Mexico.”
“The number of people coming earlier this year was unsustainable,” Jessica Bolter, associate policy analyst at the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and it’s clear that Trump’s policy has been “having a deterrent effect.”
Bolter also expressed concern that the protocols cut back “access” to asylum for individual arriving at the southwest border and put migrants in danger by forcing them to wait in Mexico where they are subject to organized crime and kidnapping.
“The cartels and smuggling organizations, on an almost daily basis, would broadcast that they could guarantee their entry. All you had to do was pay, all while they exploited our laws and the migrants themselves.”
-Acting Customs and Border Patrol Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan