Attempted border crossings surged in March

The number of migrants trying to illegally cross into the US at the Mexico border spiked dramatically in March, accor...

Posted: Apr 5, 2018 12:15 PM
Updated: Apr 5, 2018 12:15 PM

The number of migrants trying to illegally cross into the US at the Mexico border spiked dramatically in March, according to numbers released Wednesday as President Donald Trump announced he was sending National Guard troops to the southern border.

It will take a few months to determine if the spike turns into a full-blown surge similar to a migrant crisis that occurred in 2014, but the increase marked a turn for the administration, which a year ago was touting historically low numbers as the "Trump effect" and is now using the statistics as the reason it needs aggressive new immigration enforcement authorities.

The number of people either caught trying to cross the southern border or rejected for admission increased 37% from February into March, a sudden rise in figures that had been holding relatively steady. The increase was driven especially by a jump in the number of people apprehended trying to cross illegally. The number of families and unaccompanied children trying to come into the US increased at a higher rate than the general population.

Last month's numbers were three times those of March 2017, when crossings were at their lowest in two decades of records.

That year also defied the usual trend in March, when crossings historically increase as weather improves. In 2013 and 2014, a summer surge of migrants, and especially child migrants, caused a crisis of overcrowding at detention centers and humanitarian concerns. The March uptick lagged those years by several thousand, and numbers in April and May will be key to determining whether the increase marks a trend or a one-off development.

A senior administration official had told reporters on a call Wednesday announcing Trump's move to send National Guard troops to the border that the numbers were up substantially, using them as a data point in what the President called a "crisis" at the southern border in his memo authorizing troops to be deployed. The monthly numbers were released that evening, slightly ahead of schedule.

Standing at the White House podium Wednesday afternoon, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen noted the historic drop in border crossings that happened in the first few months when Trump took office, calling it the "Trump effect" and touting the work the administration had done on immigration since.

But the numbers by fall had caught up with levels in the last several years under the Obama administration, and Nielsen cited the same statistics Wednesday that the department once cited as proof of its success as the reason more steps were necessary.

"When the President took office, the traffickers, smugglers, TCOs and the illegal aliens that serve as their currency paused to see what our border enforcement efforts would look like and if we could follow through on the deportation and removal," Nielsen said. "While we have been apprehending aliens at the border with historic efficiency, these illicit smuggling groups saw that our ability to actually remove those who come here illegally did not keep pace. They saw that there were loopholes they could exploit."

Illegal migration is driven by a number of elements, including what are known as push and pull factors. The administration has been aggressively targeting what it says are pull factors: perceptions that they argue attract immigrants to the US because they believe they will be able to stay. It has discussed the push factors less often, however: the violent and impoverished conditions in Central America that send migrants north out of desperation.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17436187
Hinds16524328
Harrison13876199
Rankin11000217
Jackson10652187
Lee8981141
Madison8413168
Jones6552112
Forrest6101121
Lauderdale6034189
Lowndes5463119
Lafayette507393
Lamar496465
Washington4877124
Bolivar4068109
Oktibbeha401681
Panola378380
Pontotoc372155
Monroe3628105
Warren3619101
Union350563
Marshall349569
Neshoba3433152
Pearl River3380104
Leflore3079108
Lincoln300687
Sunflower289272
Hancock285360
Tate276762
Alcorn268854
Pike266580
Itawamba266261
Scott253448
Yazoo250156
Prentiss249552
Tippah245850
Copiah244549
Coahoma243654
Simpson240069
Leake234367
Grenada221171
Marion218473
Covington216972
Adams210170
Wayne206432
Winston205267
George202739
Attala195761
Newton195745
Tishomingo192461
Chickasaw186144
Jasper176038
Holmes169868
Clay162735
Tallahatchie154935
Stone148424
Clarke143562
Calhoun138021
Smith125825
Yalobusha120234
Walthall113437
Greene112129
Noxubee111425
Montgomery110936
Carroll105922
Lawrence104317
Perry103231
Amite99926
Webster94324
Tunica87621
Jefferson Davis87327
Claiborne86825
Benton84023
Humphreys83624
Kemper79120
Quitman7029
Franklin68716
Choctaw62313
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55920
Sharkey44217
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 432536

Reported Deaths: 6379
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63523957
Mobile30967562
Madison27627201
Tuscaloosa21122268
Montgomery19495326
Shelby18941126
Baldwin16798188
Lee12901102
Morgan12447129
Etowah11911178
Calhoun11365205
Marshall10322119
Houston8813156
Limestone823176
Cullman8159106
Elmore8056104
DeKalb7796102
Lauderdale773399
St. Clair7705122
Talladega6347109
Walker5993174
Jackson590341
Colbert543274
Blount541186
Autauga527061
Coffee454160
Dale405482
Franklin371948
Russell345712
Chilton340972
Covington334168
Escambia328344
Dallas310196
Chambers297370
Clarke290536
Tallapoosa2665107
Pike258830
Marion250155
Lawrence249150
Winston231442
Bibb219848
Geneva206946
Marengo205229
Pickens198631
Hale180842
Barbour177836
Fayette174528
Butler171358
Cherokee162530
Henry157523
Monroe150718
Randolph143236
Washington139527
Clay128546
Crenshaw121644
Cleburne119724
Lamar119621
Macon119637
Lowndes112536
Wilcox105822
Bullock101428
Perry99118
Conecuh96320
Sumter89726
Greene76723
Coosa62215
Choctaw51624
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