U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released statistics on Southwest Border apprehensions that indicate illegal immigration is occurring at levels not seen since the George W. Bush Administration. The agency is experiencing a record number of apprehensions and inadmissible “family units.” The new statistics counter claims that border crossings are near historic lows and underline the president’s case for an emergency declaration.

CBP recorded a 300+ percent increase in the number of family units apprehended compared to the same period in fiscal year (FY) 2018. Family units and unaccompanied alien children (UAC), mostly coming from Central American, now represent about 60 percent of southwest border apprehension. But CBP also experienced an influx of large groups. 70 groups of 100 or more migrants crossed illegally this fiscal year for a total of 12,069 apprehensions. Agents encountered 13 large groups in FY 18 and two in FY17.

“We are currently facing a humanitarian and national security crisis along our southwest border,” said CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “The vast increases in families and children coming across our border, in larger groups and in more remote areas, presents a unique challenge to our operations and facilities, and those of our partners, including the NGOs [non-governmental organizations] who work to assist these individuals and families throughout their immigration proceedings.”

Agents apprehended 66,450 aliens between ports of entry in February alone. That is the worst month since February 2008. Illegal immigration increased 97 percent over the related FY 18 period and is on track to reach over 780,000 migrants this fiscal year. In FY18, just under 400,000 individuals were apprehended between ports of entry.

Since the majority are family units and UACs, they are harder to deport under current U.S. law and certain court rulings. The Trump Administration’s efforts to stem the tide have been blocked, and that sends a message to those considering the trip. Brian Hastings, chief of operations at CBP, told The Washington Times, “The word of mouth and social media quickly gets back to those in northern triangle countries — if you bring a child, you’ll be successful.”

Read more in The Washington Times.

Updated: Tue, Mar 19th 2019 @ 4:50pm EDT