By the numbers: Is there really a crisis at the border?

National News
Border Wall

In this Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, photo, a U.S. flag hangs on a border barrier in El Paso, Texas. Such barriers have been a part of El Paso for decades and are currently being expanded, even as the fight over President Donald Trump’s desire to wall off the entire U.S.-Mexico border has sparked the longest […]

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In campaigning for a border wall, President Trump has repeatedly claimed the U.S. is being invaded by migrants. Tuesday, Customs and Border Protection announced officers apprehended 103,000 people at the southern border in March. That is more than twice the number apprehended during the same period in 2018. Year to date, apprehensions are up 78 percent over last year. 

However, that is nowhere near a record. 

Border Patrol officers apprehended 1.6 million people in 2000, compared to roughly 400,000 in 2018. 

Perhaps the biggest change is not how many people are crossing the border, but who they are. 

According to CBP, families and unaccompanied children made up 13 percent of apprehensions in 2013.  Last year, it was 40 percent.  So far this year, 45% of apprehensions have been families and unaccompanied children. 

  • See data for unaccompanied children HERE.
  • See data for families HERE.

Analysis of CBP data on drugs and gangs shows no significant change in the flow of either across the border.  Seizures of cocaine and heroin have fluctuated in recent years.  Marijuana seizures fell from more than 600,000 lbs in 2015 to a little more than 300,000 lbs in 2018. But seizures of methamphetamine and fentanyl have increased drastically since 2014. 

CBP data also show of the 396,000 people apprehended at the southwest border in 2018, only 481 had gang affiliations, which works out to about 0.12 percent. 

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