More Than 500,000 Foreigners Entered U.S. Illegally In FY2019, Report Finds
More than 550,000 foreigners entered the United States across the southern border with Mexico this fiscal year, according to a report from Princeton Policy Advisors.
The number represents both the number who sneaked across the U.S.-Mexico border and the number of foreigners caught at the border crossings and then released into the U.S.
“The ‘illegal’ population of the U.S. (if we include asylum seekers in that group) will have increased by 550,000 in FY 2019,” according to immigration analyst Steven Kopits, president of Princeton Policy Advisors.
The report says some 350,000 children traveling alone and adults with children were likely released into the U.S., The Washington Examiner reported. About 200,000 other foreigners crossed the border illegally and were not apprehended.
“Approximately 852,000 persons were apprehended entering the U.S. southwest border illegally in FY 2019,” the report says. “Of these, roughly 550,000 were children traveling alone or children and adults in family groups. News reports indicate that approximately 50,000 of this group were deported to holding camps in Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocol. Of those remaining in the U.S., we estimate that 70% were released into the U.S. interior pending status hearings, for example, the adjudication of asylum claims. We have been unable to find actual release rates from CBP, thus this number could be low or high and is subject to delays from time of apprehension to release.”
The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said last week that more than 150,000 foreigners were able to elude capture at the border during 2019.
“These are numbers that no immigration system in the world can handle,” said Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of the CBP. Morgan said the more than 150,000 number is a conservative estimate, since there’s no way to know for sure.
CBP agents arrested 851,508 border-crossers in the 2019 fiscal year, which ended in September. That’s more than twice as many arrested in FY2108, when agents apprehended fewer than 400,000 people.
A record 473,000 families were apprehended at the borders this fiscal year, Morgan said, a more than threefold increase over FY2018.
“They are profiting on the backs of this vulnerable population, and that’s why it’s still a crisis,” Robert Perez, deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said at the press conference.
The numbers could have been higher. The Trump administration this year enacted the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which became known as the “Remain In Mexico” policy. Foreigners who entered the U.S. illegally were processed, then released into Mexico — instead of the United States — to await their hearings.
Instead of waiting, though, thousands of migrants who were returned to Mexico gave up their asylum claims and went home, Fox News reports.
So far, the administration has returned more than 55,000 migrants to Mexico. The assessment describes the policy as an “indispensable tool in addressing the ongoing crisis at the southern border and restoring integrity to the immigration system.” It says that it has completed almost 13,000 cases as of Oct. 21.
The new assessment, significantly, cites estimates from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that approximately 20,000 migrants are currently being sheltered in Mexico near the U.S. border as they still seek entry to the U.S. The assessment says that number, though, suggests “a significant proportion of the 55,000+ MPP returnees have chosen to abandon their claims.”
“We’re now sending the message that, if you’re coming here as an economic migrant, you’re not going to be allowed into the United States,” Morgan said this month. “That’s driving a lot of people to return.”