Current Events

Beyond The Numbers

The U.S. apprehended more than 90,000 people illegally crossing the U.S. Southern Border in March.

It’s the highest monthly number in more than a decade & includes a record number of families.

What happens to them?

Current Events

What You Should Know:

  • Majority of border apprehensions: “family units” from Honduras, Guatemala & El Salvador.
  • 53,000+ parent w/child (“units”) & nearly 9,000 unaccompanied children (17 & younger).
  • Most, if not all, apply for asylum.
  • Asylum: well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, politics, social group, nationality, or race.
Current Events

What Happens To Them?

  • Pres. Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy means EVERY adult illegally crossing the border is arrested (seeking asylum or not).
  • Those in custody are charged with a federal misdemeanor, finger printed & checked for criminal records.
  • Asylum seekers undergo a credible fear interview with immigration officers.
Current Events

Where Do They Go?

  • Few, if any, families or first-time offenders detained: border patrol is “overcapacity” as is ICE.
  • Family units/first-time offenders are usually processed & released within 72 hrs, if not faster.
  • Those seeking asylum often show a destination (address of a family member or contact in the U.S.) & are released on their own recognizance.
Current Events

What Happens Next?

  • No one monitors those released on their own recognizance.
  • Asylum seekers have a notice to appear before an immigration judge. It is up to them to show up or to notify the gov’t if they relocate. If they don’t show, they can be considered a fugitive.
  • More than 1M people released on their own recognizance have final removal orders, according to ICE.
Current Events

Why It Matters:

  • The “zero-tolerance” policy has included different actions to deter illegal border crossings, like detaining families & separating children, but that’s not happening now. Current application of policy at the border is similar to “catch & release” policies of the past.
  • Border Patrol has “dire concern” for record numbers of family units & large groups apprehended.
Current Events

A "large group" is defined as 100+ people. Last year, Border Patrol apprehended 13 "large groups." This year, they've apprehended more than 100 large groups of 100 people or more. Read more about why agents are concerned about this on our source page.

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Much of the research & reporting for this topic took place in a series of communications, including direct contact with officials at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as well as Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). Customs & Border Protection held a Press Call that discussed valuable information about the state of security at the U.S. Southern Border. Some of it has been reported in the press but this is the complete transcript below. We encourage you to give it a read!

Transcript: March, FY19 Year to Date Statistics Press Call

“Another phenomena that we’ve talked about in the past, and I’ll mention again, is the large groups that we’re seeing. Currently as of March 28 the Border Patrol set another unsettling milestone by reaching 100 large groups that we’ve seen so far this fiscal year. Again, we define a large group as a group over 100.

To put that in a little bit of context, in FY ’18 we had a total of 13 large groups, fiscal year ’17 two large groups as this trend intensifies, the already substantial humanitarian and border security crisis. Just last week we had four large groups encountered in RGV in a single day consisting of almost 500 individuals. On Tuesday, March 26, again in just one day, RGV encountered three large groups totaling 386 individuals.

Not only does this divert our resources, but as we’ve seen recently, smuggling organizations are utilizing these large groups as a diversion to enable the movement of smuggling of narcotics. Approximately 60 large groups so far this year have been encountered in remote locations which causes us particular concern because they’re generally the furthest away from our processing centers, medical services, contract transportation and even our stations.

Additionally Border Patrol agents are spending more time than ever providing transportation and hospital watch for medical care of those in our custody. The increase in flow combined with the stress of the journey, crowded conveyance and flu season have resulted in significant increases for referrals to medical providers.

Currently on average the Border Patrol is sending 63 people per day for additional medical treatment. This is the highest we have seen this number since we began tracking this. We’re currently on track to refer over 31,000 people for medical treatment this year as compared to only 12,000 during fiscal year 2018.”