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 unauthorized immigrants.
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