U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports the number of family units caught entering the country illegally in May was six times what it was a year ago.
Roughly 9,500 families were either caught or turned themselves in along the southern border last month – compared to just 1,500 families in May of last year.
“The apprehension rates during the first few months of 2017 were very, very low thanks to President Trump, but unfortunately we don't think Congress acted on that, so now we're seeing increases in immigration all over again,” says Hector Garza, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council.
“Anytime the politicians are talking about potential amnesty or benefits for DACA recipients, we see that spike,” he says. “What these people want to do is get to the border, cross illegally and be able to benefit.”
Many also are willing to risk extreme heat in search of a better job in the U.S.
“As the economy goes up in the United States, we see illegal immigration on the rise as well, because that means there's increased jobs for illegal aliens, higher wages for illegal aliens,” says Garza.
Border agents also are seeing a spike in repeat offenders.
“We had an illegal alien here in the United States and he was arrested for murder, for kidnapping, for some type of sexual assault charge and then deported,” says Garza. “What we're seeing now is these people are coming right back across the border.”
Homeland Security says the figures justify the recent deployment of the National Guard, push for a border wall and the need for Congress to close “loopholes” in immigration laws which attract asylum seekers.