Two years ago there was a surge of unaccompanied minors at the southern border which became national news just as President Obama was trying to roll out his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan. Now it seems the number of minors and families arriving at the U.S. border is surging once again to 2014 levels. The Hill reports on the increased traffic in the first half of fiscal year 2016:
Through the first six months of fiscal 2016, which ended on March 31, border officials apprehended 27,754 unaccompanied children, the CBP reported — a 78 percent jump from the 15,616 apprehended in 2015, and just shy of the 28,579 apprehended in 2014.
For family units, which consist of at least one child traveling with at least one adult, the increase was even more dramatic. In the first six months of 2016, 32,117 families were apprehended, the CBP reported — an increase of 131 percent from the 2015 figure (13,913) and 62 percent from the 2014 figure (19,830).
This graph by Pew Research Center shows where we are in comparison with the past two years:
Illegal immigration is seasonal and peaks in the spring and then drops off as temperatures go up in the summer. This CBP chart shows the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border over the past 4 1/2 years. As you can see the numbers for the first half of FY16 were above even FY14 and then dropped down in January:
That January drop may not have been a coincidence. As Pew Research points out, the drop corresponds to a series of raids intended to send a message:
This fiscal year, family and unaccompanied children apprehensions spiked in December 2015, and in January 2016 the Department of Homeland Security launched immigration raids targeting families. Since then, monthly border apprehensions have dropped below 2014 levels.
As in 2014, the majority of families and child immigrants are coming through Mexico from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. All three countries have high violent crime rates. Honduras and El Salvador have been vying with on another (and with Venezuela) for the highest murder rate in the world.