Immigration Reform News: Government Report Says Illegal Immigrants Drastically Decreased in January Following Deportation Raids
The Obama administration released a new report Tuesday citing data that shows illegal immigration has sharply declined in the month of January.
According to the U.S Department of Homeland Security, the number of illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border dropped by 36 percent from December to January. This indicates that there were less migrants attempting to cross the southwest border.
Meanwhile, there has also able been a significant decline in the number of undocumented children and families who were apprehended at the border.
"In January 2016, apprehensions of unaccompanied children declined by 54 percent compared to the month before, and apprehensions of those in families declined by 65 percent in the same period," reads the report.
As a result, only 3,113 unaccompanied migrant children were apprehended at the southern border in January, compared to 6,786 in December. Plus, 3,145 members of families were caught last month, compared to 8,974 at the end of 2015.
According to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson, the government's controversial deportation raids are helping to decrease and deter the number of undocumented immigrants crossing the border.
Since the raids began on Jan. 2, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has apprehended 121 undocumented immigrants of mostly mothers and children who recently crossed the border. So far, 77 of those immigrants have already been deported.
Pro-immigration advocates, however, say it's premature to draw a connection between the administration's raids and the drop in illegal border crossings. They argue that migration at the southwest border tends to die down in the winter and pick up over the summer. They also note that it's unlikely that news of the raids has reached Central American countries.
"The time it takes a refugee to travel from Central America to the United States precludes making any connection between the raids and the number of people who have arrived since the raids," said Jonathan Ryan, executive director of the San Antonio-based Raices immigrant legal advocacy group, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Still, Johnson defended the raids and vowed to continue them.
"While the one-month decline in January is encouraging, this does not mean we can dial back our border security efforts," he said in the statement. "Our borders are not open to illegal migration."
"If someone was apprehended at the border, has been ordered deported by an immigration court, has no pending appeal, and does not qualify for asylum or other relief from removal under our laws, he or she must be sent home."
As for refugees fleeing ongoing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Johnson said the Refugee Admissions Program is being expanded "to help vulnerable men, women and children in Central America."
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