Fiscal year 2016 has now ended, and the data being reported shows a shocking 23 percent increase in apprehensions of illegal immigration.
The Washington Times reported that 409,000 illegal aliens were caught at the border during fiscal year 2016 – compared to 331,000 the year before – and the number of illegals coming as families rose to a record high of 77,674. Unaccompanied minors apprehended jumped to nearly 60,000.
Just in the Yuma sector of western Arizona, the number of family members apprehended at the border has exploded, from 675 in 2014, to 6,169 in 2016.
Homeland Security officials admit the data only reflects those they caught – the increase in apprehensions also means an increase in those who sneaked in without being seen.
The reason for the surge: they’ve been enticed by the promise of lax border enforcement in the United States. Analysts say drug cartels and immigrants have learned to game the more relaxed system under Obama. They’ve also discovered that by filing for asylum through the legal system will allow them to remain in the U.S. and become embedded into society as the legal channels become more and more bogged down.
Word-of-mouth stories going back to Central American countries from relatives and friends who have gained a foothold in the United States has been a key factor behind the record numbers of illegal aliens surging into the United States over the past year.
Elyse Golob, executive director of the National Center for Border Security and Immigration at the University of Arizona said it’s clear “there’s been a shift in the thinking of those pondering the journey from Central American countries.
“There’s no doubt that news moves through the grapevine,” Ms. Golob said. “When people hear about unaccompanied children and family units being placed in detention courts and about the overload in the immigration courts that results in people staying here, often for years, that filters back to the Central American countries, and may lead to a perception, rightful or not, that the chances of remaining in the country now are better than ever.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced, “Unaccompanied children and families have presented new challenges in our immigration system,” and said he’s trying to “give those with legitimate claims of humanitarian crises a chance to make their cases.”
Johnson claimed Trump’s wall won’t solve the problem, and claims the only solution is a long-term investment in Central America.
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