In February, Border Patrol apprehended 66,450 persons attempting to cross the unsecured border between official crossing points. This was an increase of 18,557 (+39%) over the previous month and 39,784, a whopping 150%, over the same month last year.
We have updated our annual forecast for apprehensions for calendar year 2019, which stood at 606,000 as of last week. Based on the first two months of the year, our 2019 calendar year forecast is raised to 841,000. This would be the highest since 2006, almost double last year’s level, and more than three times the number of apprehensions in 2017.
The sudden increase in crossing is driven entirely by a surge in family units. While there a jobs aplenty in the US, current legislation and judicial rulings have created a highly permissive environment for migrants from the Northern Triangle countries traveling with children. As a result, the rush is on, and month after month, more and more family units are attempting to cross the border and claiming asylum if they are caught.
Crossings are now clearly at crisis levels, and the pressure will be on Democrats in Congress to tighten asylum laws if they intend to hold the House in 2020. I would note that migrants are also certainly aware of this, and therefore apprehension numbers could rise substantially heading into the summer months as migrants rush to cross the border before new legislation can be prepared. My advice to Nancy Pelosi would be to block out some time over the weekend and have a bill ready on Monday morning. This doesn’t get better, and very likely could get a lot worse, with the Democrats rightly blamed for this fiasco.
Turning to February inadmissibles: These numbers remain elevated, but nothing too out of the ordinary.
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