US Customs and Border Protection announced Monday that the number of migrants who sought asylum out of fear at the southwest border increased by nearly 70% between 2017 and 2018, according to new statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security.
According to DHS, 92,959 claims of credible fear were made in fiscal year 2018 by migrants who were attempting to enter the US at the southwest border, compared to 55,584 claims made in fiscal year 2017. The change represents a 67% increase in claims between last year and this year.
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Claims were made both at ports of entry by people CBP determined were inadmissible to enter the country and by those caught crossing the border between ports.
President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation in November that will bar migrants who cross into the US illegally through the southern border from seeking asylum.
"These numbers reflect a dramatic increase in initial fear claims by those encountered on the border, which is straining border security, immigration enforcement and courts, and other federal resources," Kevin K. McAleenan, the CBP's commissioner, said in a statement released Monday.
"As the majority of these claims will not be successful when they are adjudicated by an immigration court, we need Congress to act to address these vulnerabilities in our immigration system which continue to negatively impact border security efforts," the statement read.
According to the statement, "CBP's responsibility is to document the claim and initiate transfer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to begin the asylum process."
During the documentation process, according to the DHS website, migrants answer a series of questions about why they are seeking asylum, including whether or not they would be harmed if they return to their home country and if they have fears or concerns about being returned to their home country or leaving the US.