“The number of arrests of the United States Border Patrol fell to its lowest level in June since February, after registering four consecutive monthly increases”, a US official announced on Monday July 2.
The decline could reflect seasonal trends or that the “zero tolerance” policy of President Donald Trump, which requires prosecuting all adults who enter the country illegally, is having a deterrent effect.
“The agency made 34,057 arrests on the border with Mexico in June, 16% less compared to the 40,344 registered in May”, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the figures are not expected to be published yet. It should be noted that the June count is preliminary and could change.
However, the arrests double the 16,077 arrests made in June 2017, but the deep decline could undermine Trump’s arguments about a crisis on the border.
The Office of Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol, declined to comment on the numbers, claiming that they rather wait for the official publication “to ensure consistency and accuracy.”
The federal government announced in early May that it would prosecute every case of illegal entry into the country, including adults who were accompanied by children. The separation of more than 2,000 migrant children from their parents provoked international outrage. Trump reversed his decision on June 20th and ordered families to stay together.
US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told border officials to stop referring arrests for illegal entry to the Justice Department if they involved parents, unless they had a criminal record. His edict came “a few hours” after Trump’s order not to separate families.
Last week, McAleenan told reporters that arrests at the border were decreasing in June, but he said he would not provide figures until its official release, scheduled for the first days of July.
“I think the emphasis on implementing the law on the border has had an impact on the crossings,” added McAleenan.
Increased temperatures could also be an important factor, since it discourages people from walking amidst the suffocating and potentially lethal heat that reigns throughout the deserts of Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The arrests decreased from May to June in four of the previous five years.
Even so, the decline between one month and another is remarkable. The arrests dropped to single digits in 2014, amid a large increase in illegal crossings in 2015. The decrease in arrests approached 20% in 2016 and back in 2013.
Border arrests – an unofficial indicator of illegal crossings – saw an increase almost all of last year, after falling drastically in the first months of the Trump administration.
TYT Newsroom with information from yucatan.com.mx
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