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Are illegal border crossings on the rise or declining?

Border Patrol

I continue looking at what's happening on the border as President Donald Trump demands funding for his proposed border wall.

The question: "Are illegal border crossings on the rise or declining?"

Last fall, The Guardian reported that statistics for U.S. Customs and Border Protection's 2018 fiscal year revealed CBP apprehended nearly 400,000 people who entered the country illegally and nearly 125,000 others who presented themselves at ports of entry seeking asylum.

That's a total of more than 500,000 apprehensions. In comparison, in the first year of this century, 2001, that number was 1.3 million, or about 2 1/2 times larger than the latest figures.

If you look at historic numbers from the Border Patrol's El Paso Sector, apprehensions of undocumented immigrants in our region peaked at more than 300,000 in 1986, falling all the way to less than 10,000 people in fiscal year 2012. Apprehensions then began creeping up again in recent years, with more than 31,000 border apprehensions last fiscal year.

There's also been a big change in the makeup of the undocumented immigrants arriving at our border. At the start of the 21st century, the vast majority were Mexican. But in recent years, for the first time in our country's history, more non-Mexican immigrants were caught at the border than Mexican citizens. In addition, there are a lot more families and children arriving at the border. I'll have more on those numbers Thursday.

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