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Home | Tag Archives: us/mexico border

Tag Archives: us/mexico border

Arrests along U.S.-Mexico border are falling, preliminary figures show

The number of migrant families crossing the border illegally has been falling in recent weeks, according to preliminary figures from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, though U.S. officials say it is too soon to get a full picture of the impact on migration trends from President Donald Trump’s deal with Mexico.

U.S. authorities detained more than 85,000 “family unit” members at the border in May, an average of nearly 2,800 per day. That number has declined about 13% since the beginning of June, a period during which Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexico and the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreed to an immigration crackdown to avoid the penalty.

Overall, U.S. officials say they are expecting a 15-20% decline in border arrests from May, when authorities detained more than 144,000 and migration levels reached their highest point since 2006. The portion of migrants arriving as part of a family group has reached unprecedented levels in recent months, overwhelming U.S. border authorities who say they are ill equipped to care for so many parents with children.

Since the June 7 immigration deal with Trump, Mexico has begun to deploy thousands of national guard forces to set up highway checkpoints and catch more Central American migrants as they head northward toward the U.S. border. The United States also has begun to send more asylum seekers back across the border into Mexico to await their U.S. immigration court hearings, an expansion of the Migrant Protection Protocols program that prevents the migrants from staying in the United States while they go through the asylum process.

The Mexican immigration enforcement crackdown has been concentrated in southern Mexico, so U.S. officials say it could take several weeks for the full effect of the effort to show up as a reduction in crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border. As the United States turns more people away to Mexico during the asylum process, authorities hope it will act as a deterrent.

“We are seeing initial actions, and we are seeing some signs they’re having an impact,” said one U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss preliminary figures that are not yet public. “But I think it’s still too early to tell.”

Border arrests typically surge in the spring, when demand for U.S. farm labor grows, then subside during peak summer months. Border arrests declined 17% from May 2018 to June 2018, an indication that the expected decline this month could follow that same trend.

But Department of Homeland Security officials say current migration patterns are less linked to seasonal labor demand than in the past and are instead driven by the widespread view in Central America that those who migrate with children have an opportunity now to gain entry to the United States by taking advantage of legal gaps in the U.S. immigration system.

If the June arrest numbers continue to decline, it would be the first month this year that Customs and Border Protection has recorded a decrease in enforcement actions.

During the negotiations to avert tariffs, White House officials told Mexico that Trump wanted to see border crossings back at the historic lows tallied during 2017.

The Mexican government did not commit to a specific, numerical enforcement goal during the negotiations, a senior Mexican official said Monday. But Mexico has assured the United States that its enforcement efforts will deliver the major reductions in migration levels Trump is demanding.

The United States, via the MPP program, has been sending about 250 asylum seekers back to Mexico per day, but U.S. officials plan to increase that to at least 1,000 per day in coming weeks.

The procedure is facing legal challenges, and critics say it exposes vulnerable families to grave danger by stranding them in mafia-dominated Mexican border cities with few services and little protection. Local Mexican officials say they are ill prepared for a massive return of migrants.

A senior Mexican official told reporters Monday that the Mexican government’s efforts had cut daily arrests at the U.S. border from 4,500 to 2,600, but U.S. officials said those figures were not an accurate reflection of daily averages since the two countries reached their accord.

Mexican officials said Monday that their enforcement efforts would target more than the highways and rail lines of southern Mexico, noting that some of the country’s national-guard units would deploy to the U.S. border to increase enforcement.

Read related Tribune coverage

Author:  NICK MIROFF, THE WASHINGTON POST

Texas Republicans warn Trump about ramifications of closing U.S.-Mexico border

As President Donald Trump threatens to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border, some of the highest-ranking Texans from within his own party are warning about the consequences of doing so.

“Closing the border to legal commerce would be devastating to Texas,” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a statement Wednesday evening. “Millions of jobs, in Texas and across the country, depend upon trade with Mexico, and the federal government shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize those jobs.”

Trump recently threatened to close the border — or large sections of it — this week if Mexico didn’t “immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States.” While Trump has since eased up on the threat, it was enough to set off alarms in Texas, particularly in the business community.

The Texas Association of Business said Monday that one in five jobs in the state is dependent upon trade and that “no group stands to lose more than Texans in communities” along the border such as El Paso and Laredo. The business group pressed state leaders to speak out — and it was clear by Wednesday evening that some of them had gotten the message.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he had spoken with Trump on the phone about the issue.

“I told him that I understand his frustration, but I also believe shutting down the border would have a lot of unintended consequences,” Cornyn said. He added that he “asked the president to let me work with this administration to come up with more targeted ways to encourage Mexico and Central America to work more cooperatively with us.”

Asked what Trump’s reaction was, Cornyn said the president was “responsive” and told the senator to talk with Cabinet members.

Even Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — Trump’s biggest cheerleader in Texas, particularly when it comes to his immigration policies — made clear he opposed a border closure. The Texas Senate, which Patrick presides over, passed a resolution Tuesday along party lines that declared an emergency at the border.

“I’m not for shutting the entire border,” Patrick said in an interview Wednesday morning with Fox News Radio. “The commerce would dramatically impact Texas, America and Mexico. I’d like to see the commercial lanes flow.”

Still, like other Republicans, Patrick sympathized with Trump’s frustrations — and offered one solution.

“Maybe he needs to send a message and close one port, one entry point,” Patrick said.

Disclosure: The Texas Association of Business has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Author:  PATRICK SVITEK – The Texas Tribune

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