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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.

Confirmed Cases: 113081

Reported Deaths: 3231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
Lafayette245943
Lauderdale2418134
Lamar221238
Bolivar200177
Oktibbeha199354
Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
Panola169038
Leflore165187
Sunflower159749
Warren153655
Monroe147372
Pontotoc145819
Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
Pike137756
Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
Grenada121138
Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
Alcorn98112
George97718
Covington95326
Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
Chickasaw83626
Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
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