Border Patrol agents working along the United States-Mexico border took into custody approximately 851,000 people in the U.S. government’s fiscal 2019, marking the highest number of arrests since 2007, according to federal data exclusively obtained by the Washington Examiner.
But the 40,000 people taken into custody in September is less than one-third of the 132,000 arrests made in May at the height of a surge of illegal immigrants.
Roughly 40,000 people were apprehended after crossing into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California during the month of September. That number was added to the previous 11 months to bring fiscal 2019, which ran Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30, to slightly more than 851,000 arrests. Those arrested for illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico may have claimed asylum once in custody, but that figure is not released by the government each month.
The 851,000 arrested at the southern border does not include the number of people who approached ports of entry, or border crossings, to claim asylum or pass through but were turned away. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security agency that oversees these figures, is expected to release this and related data in a few weeks.
As of Aug. 31, another 263,000 people were encountered at ports by the Office of Field Operations, a component of CBP. Border Patrol agents are stationed on the land between ports of entry while field operations officers stay at ports. These people are not arrested but are simply denied entry.
These numbers do not include additional arrests and denied port crossers at the U.S.-Canada border and along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, nor does it include the September figure for those encountered at the ports.
CBP uses the number of people encountered at the border as an indicator of how many people tried to illegally enter the country, since some of those who illegally cross avoid detection or do not surrender for the sake of claiming asylum.
Along the U.S.-Mexico border, more than 250,000 Guatemalans and 250,000 Hondurans were apprehended.
The biggest change in fiscal 2019 compared to the Border Patrol’s previous 95 years was the number of families who arrived. In 2015, fewer than 80,000 people who arrived with a family member were among those apprehended by the Border Patrol. As of Aug. 31, more than 450,000 people who arrived with a family member were taken into custody.
Arrests of people entering without documentation has slowly ticked up from about 300,000 in 1970 to between an average of 1 million and 1.5 million each year from the mid-1980s through 2006, according to Border Patrol data.