Immigration arrests spiked, illegal border crossings dropped in 2017: DHS

Arrests of undocumented immigrants rose and apprehensions along the Southwest border were down significantly last year, according to the end-of-year numbers released Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

During fiscal year 2017, there were a total of 310,531 apprehensions by U.S. Border Patrol nationwide. That’s the lowest its been in at least 17 years.

Of those apprehensions, nearly 98 percent were along the Southwest border. Apprehensions are used as an indicator to measure illegal border crossings.

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An immigration detainee stands near a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) grievance box in the high security unit at the Theo Lacy Facility, March 14, 2017 in Orange, California.

April 2017 was the month with the lowest border enforcement activity on record, according to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which oversees Border Patrol. Since the April-low of 11,127 southwest border apprehensions, the numbers have crept back up.

In September, Border Patrol apprehended 22,537 people attempting to illegally cross the Southwest border. The September, as well end-of-year total numbers were released today as part of the fiscal year report.

Illegal immigration, particularly along the southwest border, “declined sharply” from Jan. 21 to April, said CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello during a press conference Tuesday.

Who is crossing illegally?

CBP in May began to see a “month-over-month increase in apprehensions and inadmissible cases along the Southwest border, notably from children either as part of a family unit or unaccompanied by their parent or legal guardian,” Vitiello said.

By the end of the fiscal year, Border Patrol apprehended 75,622 family members and 41,435 children.

“We remain concerned about the steady increase in the flow of unaccompanied children and family units from Central America,” Vitiello said.

During 2017, approximately 58 percent of apprehensions were of people from countries other than Mexico — primarily from Central America. That’s up from 54 percent last year, according to CBP.

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A Homeland Security border patrol vehicle monitors the border area where prototypes of President Trump’s proposed border wall are standing, Nov. 1, 2017 in San Diego, California.

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