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Border crossings steady in April after March spike

Illegal border crossings stabilized in April after jumping substantially in March, a sign that a surge at the souther...

Posted: May 4, 2018 7:29 AM
Updated: May 4, 2018 7:29 AM

Illegal border crossings stabilized in April after jumping substantially in March, a sign that a surge at the southern border may not be imminent, according to newly released statistics from the Trump administration.

In April, there were 38,234 apprehensions at the southern border and 12,690 people deemed "inadmissible," or who came to a port of entry without papers that authorized them to enter the US, virtually unchanged from the month before. The number of family units and children in both categories also held roughly steady from the previous month.

The news comes as the administration has claimed a "crisis" on the southern border, a narrative largely driven by the jump in March and the comparison to the numbers last spring, when crossings were at abnormally low levels.

Administration officials have also been decrying a so-called caravan of migrants -- an annual pilgrimage of mostly women and children who say they are fleeing violence and abuse in their home countries -- that has arrived at the border with Mexico. As of Thursday evening, organizers said more than 150 migrants had been processed of the nearly 230 migrants in the group, the latter being a larger total number than previously estimated.

Those who meet the legal threshold will be allowed to pursue their claims in court cases that could take months or years. Those that don't will be turned away from the US.

In the midst of the caravan's trek and the release of the March statistics, President Donald Trump has ordered the National Guard to deploy troops to the border, with roughly 1,000 having been sent so far, and with the Justice Department announcing it will send more immigration judges and prosecutors to border districts, as well.

April's figures indicate that although there was a sharp spike in March, border crossings remain in line with historic seasonal trends. Numbers are still consistent with Obama administration years -- slightly below fiscal years 2013 and 2014 but slightly above 2015 and 2016.

The crossings in April of this year were more than triple April 2017, but that comparison is distorted, as crossings last April were at levels unseen in modern history, before they started to pick up and stabilize more in line with recent years.

Crossings have been trending downward for decades and are at historic lows, prompting Homeland Security to declare last fall that the border is the most secure it has ever been.

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