May Mexico border arrests, nearly 133K in May as surge continues.
The number of migrants arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border soared to nearly 133,000 in May, according to statistics released Wednesday by Customs and Border Protection.
The latest figures will keep pressure on Congress to deal with a surge of Central American migrants who have arrived at the border in recent months.
In response to the influx, the Trump administration has urged lawmakers to approve a $4.5 billion supplemental funding request that would cover housing for unaccompanied minors and detention for single adults, among other expenses.
Border arrests — a rough proxy for illegal crossings — have risen in recent months to levels on par with the higher-traffic decades of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. President Donald Trump and his top officials have argued the surge has overwhelmed federal authorities and created a humanitarian and security crisis.
Trump has heaped part of the blame on the Mexican government and threatened to impose a 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods by Monday if the country doesn’t step up immigration enforcement. Mexican officials traveled to Washington this week to negotiate a solution and were scheduled to meet with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House Wednesday afternoon.
Democratic leaders have faulted the Trump administration for mismanagement, citing a Homeland Security Department shakeup in April and May that forced the departure of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other top officials. In addition, they’ve criticized Trump for his focus on the construction of a border wall that they view as ineffective and costly.
The flow of migrants at the southwest border has continued to rise. The May border arrest total represents a 34 percent increase over the roughly 99,000 arrests last month, according to the figures released Wednesday.
The spike was due largely to a sharp rise in family members and unaccompanied minors caught at the border.
Border Patrol picked up nearly 85,000 family members in May, a 44 percent increase over a month earlier and a historic high. For comparison, the agency arrested roughly 107,000 family members in all of fiscal 2018.
The number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border also climbed. Border Patrol arrested 11,507 unaccompanied minors in May, up from 8,900 a month earlier.
The Trump administration has cautioned that HHS, which takes custody of the minors, soon could be overwhelmed by the incoming traffic.
The HHS refugee resettlement office said Wednesday it maintains 13,200 unaccompanied children in its custody, up from 12,700 on May 1. The number of children in custody is approaching historic highs reached last year.