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Border apprehensions continue record streak, climbing to 99,000 in April

Border business: Inside immigration

For a third consecutive month, the number of migrant families apprehended by U.S. authorities at the border reached a record high as the Trump administration advocates for more stringent measures to address the recent large-scale migration from Central American countries plagued by violence and poverty.

U.S. immigration authorities apprehended or turned back more than 109,000 migrants — including approximately 58,000 families and nearly 9,000 unaccompanied children — along the U.S.-Mexico border last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Wednesday. In total, 98,977 migrants of all categories were apprehended between ports of entry along the border. 

The figure for families continues a three-month record-setting streak of migrant family apprehensions during President Trump's tenure. In February — the busiest February for border officials in the last 12 years — more than 36,000 people traveling as families were apprehended along the southwestern border, followed by 53,077 in March, a month in which CBP officials said they reached a "breaking point."

"We cannot address this crisis by simply shifting more resources or building more facilities," U.S. Border Patrol chief Carla Provost told lawmakers during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing Wednesday. "It's like holding a bucket under a faucet. It doesn't matter how many buckets you give me if we can't turn off the flow." 

Provost said her officers encountered approximately 2,400 families and children on average everyday in April. She urged Congress to pass laws designed to "deliver consequences" to migrants who cross the border illegally, warning that without legislative action, the government will "lose control of the border." 

To try to curb the unprecedented flow of migrant families headings towards the U.S.-Mexico border, the Trump administration has implemented different measures, including the so-called "Remain in Mexico" policy of keeping migrants who claim asylum at ports of entry along the southern border in Mexico while their cases are processed in the U.S. Late Tuesday, a federal appellate court allowed the administration to continue the practice while the three-judge panel reviews the merits of a legal challenge by immigrant advocates who believe the policy puts migrants at risk. 

Since last summer, apprehensions of families between ports of entry along the southern border have steadily increased, with hundreds of thousands of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — collectively known as the "Northern Triangle" — journeying north to flee chronic violence and widespread poverty, exasperated in rural areas by crop failures caused by climate change. 

Faulting their governments for not doing enough to prevent their citizens from migrating, Mr. Trump announced in late March that he was ending all U.S. foreign aid to Central America, a decision aid workers believe will backfire and fuel more migration from the region.