Even as President Donald Trump finalizes his call to mobilize the National Guard to the southern border, a recent report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection reveals increased activity over the past several weeks.
As CNS News reported, 53,308 individuals were detained or turned away at the Mexican border last month.
That number is a sharp increase from the just under 37,000 encountered in February and represents a more than threefold increase year over year. March was also the highest monthly total since Trump’s inauguration.
Much of that increase, according to the agency, was due to a spike in the number of unaccompanied minors and traveling families. Those numbers increased by 41 and 49 percent, respectively.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Kirstjen Nielsen shared the perceived cause for higher rates among those groups.
“The traffickers and smugglers know that, if you arrive with a family, under our current legal and court system, you have a much better chance of being released into the United States,” she said.
According to Nielsen, human traffickers “advertise” such policies as a way to recruit people willing to make the dangerous trek to the U.S. border.
“And we have seen traffickers, unfortunately, fraudulently use children to gain entry into our country,” she said.
Though last month marked a high for the Trump administration, officials say the general upward trend has been in the works for months. One year ago, border patrol encountered less than 16,000 people either apprehended or deemed inadmissible during the month of April, according to an official quoted by CNS.
“We are no longer at that point,” the administration source added.
He called last month’s numbers “a staggering increase” over the previous March, suggesting the statistics “emphasize the need for additional actions.”
Trump has increased his emphasis on border security in recent days, announcing strategies and posting a series of tweets calling for a rapid response.
Honduras, Mexico and many other countries that the U.S. is very generous to, sends many of their people to our country through our WEAK IMMIGRATION POLICIES. Caravans are heading here. Must pass tough laws and build the WALL. Democrats allow open borders, drugs and crime!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2018
In addition to a reinvigorated advocacy for the completion of a border wall, the president has also signaled his intention to deploy members of the National Guard to the southern border.
“To secure the border and make America safe, we need to deploy the National Guard,” a DHS statement released Wednesday said. “Deploying the National Guard will serve as an immediate deterrent while dramatically enhancing operational control of the U.S. border.”
As DHS explained, the process will take place in coordination with the nation’s governors with a goal of providing support to “federal law enforcement personnel,” who will “direct enforcement efforts.”
A White House statement echoed previous claims by Trump that Democrats are responsible for the need for additional resources on the border.
“The President is taking action to protect America’s national security because congressional Democrats have obstructed efforts to secure our border,” the White House said.
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