Illegal immigration across the southwest border plummeted in January, compared to December, as the flow of both illegal immigrant families and children traveling alone dried up, according to numbers released by Customs and Border Protection on Monday.
The numbers are still high compared to past years — indeed, it’s the worst January in records dating back to 2012.
But total apprehensions of migrants trying to sneak across the border fell 27 percent on a month-to-month basis, to 31,575. And the number of inadmissible migrants who showed up at the southwest’s ports of entry fell 28 percent, to 10,899.
Apprehensions are deemed an indicator of the overall flow: The more people caught, the more are believed to be getting through.
The flow always decreases in the deep months of the winter, before picking up again in the spring. Last year Border Patrol apprehensions dropped 36 percent from December to January.
“Overall total migration remained at elevated levels, primarily due to family units and unaccompanied children from Central America, Haitian nationals migrating from Brazil, and Cuban nationals,” CBP said in releasing the numbers.
“CBP continues to maintain a strong security posture through background checks of all individuals encountered and ensures that each person is processed in accordance with U.S. immigration laws and DHS policy,” the agency said.
The number of Cubans showing up to demand entry fell from nearly 5,000 in December to just 1,572 in January, as President Obama’s new Cuban policy kicked in Jan. 12. Under that policy, those who are caught on U.S. soil are no longer entitled to special treatment.
But the number of Haitians demanding entry ticked up in January, suggesting a renewed flow from that nationality. Tens of thousands of Haitians fled their island country over the last decade, heading to South America. But over the last year they’ve started trying to gain a foothold in the U.S., enticed by what they saw as lax enforcement policies.