Agents last month arrested 23,121 migrant family members, a 39 percent jump from September. President Trump imposed new restrictions on asylum protection for those crossing illegally.
The number of migrants taken into custody along the Mexican border soared to the highest totals of the Trump presidency in October, says U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Washington Post reports. The jump in illegal crossings continued to be driven by a record numbers of parents arriving with children, a trend that has accelerated dramatically since the administration halted its “zero tolerance” family-separation policy in June. Agents last month arrested 23,121 migrant family members, a 39 percent jump from September and the highest one-month total ever recorded. CBP arrested or deemed inadmissible 60,745 people along the Mexico border in October, far more than any other month since Trump took office.
Trump in the past has viewed the numbers as a gauge for the performance of his border security officials and especially Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who is not expected to last much longer in her role. DHS officials blame the surge on a flood of frivolous asylum claims by Central Americans attempting to avoid deportation by gaming the U.S. immigration system. Trump on Friday issued a presidential proclamation that imposes new restrictions on asylum protections for migrants who cross the border illegally. A coalition of civil rights groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Friday in San Francisco seeking an injunction to block the measures, calling them a violation of federal procedure and a violation of immigration laws. October’s surge in border arrests was driven by large numbers of Guatemalan and Honduran migrants, many of whom are fleeing rampant violence and poverty. An estimated 7,000 to 10,000 Central Americans are traveling toward the U.S. border in loose caravans of unprecedented size.