- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Illegal immigration along the southwest border ticked back down in January, with the trouble spots of unaccompanied minors and families in particular dropping precipitously.

The numbers suggest that fears of an “amnesty surge” due to the ongoing talks in Washington have yet to materialize.

The declines spanned both illegal immigrants caught trying to sneak in between ports of entry, and those showing up at legal checkpoints demanding entry without permission.

Even with the improvements, Homeland Security said the numbers are still too high.

“Once again, this month we saw an unacceptable number of UACs and family units flood our border because of these catch-and-release loopholes,” said acting Homeland Security Press Secretary Tyler Q. Houlton.

“To secure our borders and make America safer, Congress must act to close these legal loopholes that have created incentives for illegal immigrants and are being exploited by dangerous transnational criminal organizations like MS-13,” he said.

All told, Border Patrol agents and checkpoint officers detained 35,822 people who entered without permission in January. That’s still the second-worst January of the last six years, though it’s better than the 40,511 recorded in December.

Border Patrol agents reported catching 3,227 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and 5,656 people traveling as parts of families. Port of Entry officers reported another 709 UAC and 3,533 family units who tried to enter without permission.

Those categories are the most difficult to deal with, since they are able to take advantage of lax U.S. laws and court decisions that require they be let into the country — a process those on the border call “catch-and-release.”

The numbers come as Congress is debating what kinds of border security it will couple with a plan to legalize illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”

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