The numbers aren’t official yet but the Washington Examiner reports that the border apprehensions were down against in September. However, while the trend since May has been good, FY 19 still stands out as the highest number of apprehensions since 2007. From the Washington Examiner:
Border Patrol agents working along the United States-Mexico border took into custody approximately 851,000 people in the U.S. government’s fiscal 2019, marking the highest number of arrests since 2007, according to federal data exclusively obtained by the Washington Examiner.
But the 40,000 people taken into custody in September is less than one-third of the 132,000 arrests made in May at the height of a surge of illegal immigrants…
The biggest change in fiscal 2019 compared to the Border Patrol’s previous 95 years was the number of families who arrived. In 2015, fewer than 80,000 people who arrived with a family member were among those apprehended by the Border Patrol. As of Aug. 31, more than 450,000 people who arrived with a family member were taken into custody.
This is the fourth month in a row that the number of apprehensions have declined. CNN notes that the usual seasonal patters of migration have shifted in recent years:
Historically, apprehension numbers have risen in the spring and dropped in the fall and winter. However, in recent years, there have been severe lows and highs, not fitting into a seasonal pattern.
In FY15 and FY17, apprehensions were higher in September than in May. In FY 18 they were only slightly lower in September than the peak in May. All that to say, this substantial 65 percent decline was not at all a given. It’s the result of an effort by the Trump administration to deal with a problem that at times threatened to overwhelm the border patrol.
In case you’ve forgotten, back in March when Kevin McAleenan was sounding the alarm in his testimony before Congress, Sen. Blumenthal was doing his best to discount there way any emergency at the border:
During a Senate oversight hearing this month, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asserted that border crossings “are still at a historic low compared to other times in our nation’s history.”
“No, senator, they’re not,” CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan responded. “We’re on pace for over 700,000 crossings this year — that’s closer to historic highs than historic lows.”
After Blumenthal suggested the numbers were a fluke, McAleenan said: “We have to confront what’s happened in these five months. . . . This is new, different and potentially worsening.”
Watch the clip of this exchange below. You’ll see that Blumenthal keeps arguing that the projection of 700,000 apprehensions in FY19 could be wrong. It turns out he was right about that. The estimate was 150,000 apprehensions too low.