Border Crossings Rising Again

Don't look now, but there's another surge in illegal crossings at the southern border.  After a steep drop in border crossings during the first few months of the Trump Administration, the trend has gone the other way in recent months.  Figures from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) show that border apprehensions bottomed out at 15,771 in April, but have increased in each month since then, doubling to over 30,000 in August, which is the most recent monthly figure available. 

The increase in illegal border crossings has prompted some border agents to predict a return of the "catch-and-release" policy, simply because there aren't enough facilities to hold everyone who is caught.  "Over the past few months, you just see this significant growth in the number of illegal detainees being held by Customs and Border Patrol," says Chris Carmona with the Texas Young Republican Federation.  "ICE just doesn't have the bandwidth to take everyone in."

Texas has seen the biggest surge of illegal crossings among all southwestern border sectors.  Carmona believes that has to do with SB4, the anti-sanctuary city law passed earlier this year by the Legislature.  "Every country that sends people here was like 'get in now before the new bill goes into effect in Texas,’" he says.  "So it's not surprising to see this rise in people coming over."

The return to catch-and-release policy will only continue to drive the surge in border crossings, according to Jessica Vaughan with the Center for Immigration Studies.  "This is still a huge incentive for people to keep coming, because they know they are going to be released by the government and allowed to stay in the country for an indefinite period of time," she tells KTRH.  Vaughan believes that, while President Trump has the right ideas on border security, he can't do it on his own.  "Congress needs to step up and provide the resources and the fixes to the law to make it possible for this to happen," she says.

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