- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Illegal immigration at the southwest border ticked up again in December, according to the latest numbers released Tuesday that showed an increasing flow of people showing up at the ports of entry demanding to be admitted.

Actual arrests by the Border Patrol dropped slightly in December, but the number of people showing up at official ports of entry jumped 16 percent last month, and is now back to higher than where it was in January 2017 under President Barack Obama.

Homeland Security officials said that the numbers still show progress under President Trump, when 2017 is viewed in total.

“This administration has overseen a 40 percent decrease in 2017 compared with the last year of Obama’s presidency,” said Tyler Q. Houlton, acting press secretary.

But the latest trends have suggested those gains Mr. Trump made early in his term have evaporated.

Mr. Houlton said “loopholes” in the law entice illegal immigrants to stream to the U.S., saying migrants try “to take advantage of our generosity.”

He said new Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will demand fixes to those issues as part of the immigration negotiations going on in Washington right now.

All sides are pushing to grant legal status to illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” but the White House has said it wants to couple that with new enforcement enhancements to head off another wave of illegal immigration in the future.

Chief among the worries are Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and families traveling together, chiefly from Central America, who began to stream to the U.S. during the Obama administration.

At their peak in 2014 more than 25,000 UAC and people traveling as families were being caught by the Border Patrol each month. The number surged again in the final year of the Obama administration, reaching 23,000 in December 2016 before dropping to just 2,000 by last April.

But things then began to increase, with the Border Patrol nabbing 11,018 UAC and family members in November and 12,204 last month.

Nearly 6,000 more UAC and family members showed up at ports of entry and were detained by Customs and Border Protection Officers, according to the new numbers.

All told, the Border Patrol arrested 28,996 illegal immigrants in December, or nearly the same as the 29,086 arrested in November. But the number of UAC rose from 4,000 to 4,083, and the number of people arrested traveling as families rose from 7,018 to 8,121.

CBP officers stopped 11,517 at ports of entry, up from 9,920 in November.

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