After a dip in the number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border over
the winter, traffic may be getting busier there. New statistics released
by the Border Patrol show a rise in the number of apprehensions in the
Southwest last month compared to March the year before.
There were 7,259 more crossings and apprehensions last month compared to
February and 4,452 of the 33,335 apprehensions were members of families
crossing together. That
rise in crossings, mostly comprised of people fleeing Central America, follows a controversial
push by the administration of President Barack Obama earlier this year
in which immigration officials raided homes to deport people living in
the country without authorization.
That push did appear to depress migration rates at first and Homeland Security
Secretary Jeh Johnson last month praised lower February statistics while
mentioning the raids explicitly. The Department of Homeland Security released
a statement alongside the March statistics, noting that the number is
much lower than March 2014, when there were 49,596 apprehensions.
“The Department of Homeland Security continues to closely monitor
current migration trends and is working aggressively to address underlying
causes and deter future increases in unauthorized migration, while ensuring
that those with legitimate humanitarian claims are afforded the opportunity
to seek protection,” a statement
read. “We also continue to support broader regional efforts to address
the humanitarian situation in Central America.”
The deportation raids earlier this month were widely
criticized by immigration and human rights activists, many of whom argued that sending
back people who had fled Central America could put those lives in danger
in their home countries. They argue that immigrants who had made it to
the U.S. after fleeing from gang violence and other dangers in places likeEl Salvador qualified to be treated and considered as asylum seekers rather than simply
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