Border Apprehensions: Brace Yourself

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The El Paso Times reports today that

In the past two mornings, border officers took more than 12,000 migrants into custody along the border, McAleenan said.

“A high number is 4,000-6,000 is crisis level,” McAleenan said. “12,000 is unprecedented. On Monday, we saw the highest total of apprehensions and encounters in years, with over 4,000 in a single day.”

This is not really a surprise.

Some perspective: Our projection for March is 82,500 based on January and February 2019 data. Our latest outlook based on available March weekly data is 104,000. Last year came in at 37,400.

A pace of 6,000 per day for April would represent 180,000 for the month versus our projection based on January and February of 85,000. Last year was 38,200.

The takeaway here is not only that the situation at the border is bad, but that it is deteriorating at an alarming pace.

But again, this is not surprising.

Flip it over and consider the situation from the migrants’ point of view. Getting into the US has gotten harder, and the payments of up to $11,000-$17,000 to cover human smuggling and cartel fees are simply unaffordable to the vast majority of low income Northern Triangle citizens who earn $1/hour. Therefore, the passage of the January omnibus bill, which gave migrants with children a free pass into the US and reduced the family detention bed count, is like winning the lottery. It is a Black Friday sale on US residency.

Those who came over in the first few weeks after the omnibus was passed were largely ready to go anyway. They just brought forward their departure date. In the intervening weeks, however, a much larger cohort has had time to make their arrangements to set off to the US. And these are now beginning to hit the US border in quantity.

Further, as we have stated before, migrants know this situation cannot last. Therefore, not only will they come over, everyone who wants to do this will come over in the next 60 to 90 days.

There are predictions to year’s end. They are meaningless. Everyone who wants to come to the US will do so within the next couple of months. They are not going to wait until September or October, because they have every reason to believe the door will be closed by then.

So brace yourself. As bad as a the daily count is, it could get much, much worsevery fast.

Photo Credit: Loren Elliott/AFP/Getty Images

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