The number of migrants detained after entering the US across the southern border fell 28 percent in June from May as both the United States and Mexico tightened controls, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday, reports BSS/AFP.
But the department said the border situation remains a ‘full-blown emergency,’ with apprehensions last month still a very high 104,344, compared to 43,180 a year ago — with thousands fleeing poverty and violence in Central America still arriving daily.
DHS credited its ‘whole of government approach’ for the decline, after apprehensions rocketed above 144,000 in May, overwhelming the government’s capacity for housing the migrants and exacerbating the squalid conditions in holding cells for new arrivals.
While migrant flows usually ebb in the hot summer, DHS said initiatives with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the sources of most of the migrants, and a joint crackdown with Mexico, whose territory most of them must transit, had contributed to the downturn.
Under Washington’s threat to freeze bilateral trade, Mexico agreed to more toughly police its own southern border and to allow Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States to apply from Mexico.
‘Since the administration reached a new agreement with Mexico, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the number of interdictions on the Mexican southern border,’ DHS said in a statement.
‘We are still in an ongoing border security and humanitarian crisis,’ DHS said, noting the US Border Patrol had apprehended nearly 700,000 people in the October-June period, 140 percent over the same period a year earlier.
‘Our June apprehension numbers are still higher than last year’s, when we were already in a crisis. We are past the breaking point and in a full-blown emergency. This situation should not be acceptable to any of us.’