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Changing Dynamics at Southwest Border are Driving a Humanitarian Crisis

April 10, 2019

Changing Dynamics at Southwest Border are Driving a Humanitarian Crisis

President Trump is right: there is a crisis at the southwest border that is a result of demographic shifts and changing migration patterns.

Dramatic demographic changes are pushing this crisis    

  • Central American smugglers are telling migrants to take children with them as a “visa” and are urging migrants “‘now or never’ because the wall is going to be built, and it won’t be possible to cross,” in the future.
  • The smugglers are right: Authorities must release Central American families and unaccompanied children into the United States within 20 days to await legal proceedings, under the Flores court settlement.
  • Most of them vanish into the U.S. interior during their legal proceedings.
  • Family apprehensions are on track to at least triple from FY 2018.

Look at the numbers

  • In the first five months of FY19, 136,150 families were apprehended. Compare that with the total of 107,212 from FY 2018.
  • Family apprehensions for FY 2019 are already 800 percent higher than FY 2013.
  • Overall apprehensions are on track to be at a 12-year high at the southwest border.
  • Border apprehensions in March were up 450 percent compared with March 2017.

Migrants are arriving at the border in record large groups, overwhelming Border Patrol stations and port of entry processing facilities

  • Migrant groups are getting dangerously large, like the more than 8,000-person caravan in November.
  • Migrants didn’t used to come in such large groups.
  • In FY 2019, there have been more than 100 groups of over 100 migrants just since October 1.
  • In FY 2018, there were 13 groups of over 100 migrants.
  • In FY 2017, there were just two groups of over 100 migrants.

The surge in families is creating a humanitarian crisis and depleting CBP manpower

  • More migrants are arriving at the border in need of urgent medical care, which means border patrol agents are spending less time processing migrants and responding to their border security duties.
  • Border Patrol projects a 158 percent increase in migrants needing medical treatment after crossing the border over last year.
  • In FY2018, border patrol agents assisted and rescued more than 4,300 people in distress along the border before they reached CBP custody – a 20 percent increase over the previous year.
  • Since December 22, 2018, border patrol agents spent about 78,000 hours transporting and supervising illegal immigrants at a hospital or medical facility. This trend could equal more than 150 agents off the line of duty this year.


Contact: Nicole Hager