by Axios | 3.25.19
Data: Department of Homeland Security; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
The number of immigrants arrested or turned away at the southern border has continued to climb to levels not seen for years, according to new Department of Homeland Security data obtained by Axios.
Why it matters: The surge has been driven by an influx of migrant families and unaccompanied children, according to a DHS official. "At the moment, we have the closest thing to an open border that we've had," said Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney and member of a Homeland Security advisory committee formed by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen several months ago.
"Unless Congress does something, we are where we are on this. There are no levers left to pull."
The big picture: The latest data come at a time when the Trump administration is trying to make the case that there is a true emergency at the border, in the face of skepticism in Congress and pushback over his national emergency intended to fund a border wall.
Between the lines: There are real families and children who have fled dire circumstances in their home nations who are coming to the U.S. for asylum. But there are also real logistical issues at the border and in U.S. immigration policy. Immigration is already a complex issue, but it has become an increasingly political one as well.
By the numbers: Historically, the number of border crossers begins escalating around March due to the warmer weather, and typically doesn't peak until May. The U.S. has had this much border activity in the past, but could reach as many as a million apprehensions and inadmissibles this year, according to Morgan — levels not seen for at least a decade.
Written by Axios
Follow this Action Center to stay updated on new posts