President Donald Trump has made combating illegal immigration a cornerstone of his presidency and 2020 campaign.
The president’s administration has been working tirelessly for almost three years to secure the border, build more of the wall, and reduce the number of illegal aliens crossing into the United States.
In order to help Border Patrol agents, Trump has given them the green light to arrest illegal aliens and detain them once they are apprehended.
Under the previous Obama-era rule, also known as “catch and release,” officials had to literally let the illegal aliens go and could not detain them.
While there’s a change in attitude and policy on illegal immigration under Trump, border arrests more than doubled during the 2019 fiscal year to 851,508 people apprehended.
For the fiscal year of 2018, Politico reports that there were less than 400,000 border arrests. This data comes from a report compiled by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
Regarding the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally, acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said, “These are numbers that no immigration system in the world can handle, not even in this country.”
A record 473,000 families were apprehended this fiscal year, Morgan said, a more than threefold increase over 2018.
The number of border-crossers peaked in May when 144,000 people were apprehended or turned away at legal ports of entry. Arrests then dropped over the summer, numbering 40,507 in September.
The volume of border arrests has been unpredictable in recent years. In the fiscal year 2017, arrests dropped to a near 50-year low of 303,916, prompting DHS to boast that “the southwest land border is more difficult to illegally cross today than ever before.” But in the fiscal year 2018, arrest figures rose to 396,579 before rising much more dramatically in the fiscal year 2019.
Border arrests peaked at 1.6 million in 2000 — and remained at or near the 1 million mark until the last two years of George W. Bush’s presidency — before dropping off sharply due to improvements in the Mexican economy and later the Great Recession in the U.S.
Morgan’s comments came while he was speaking to reporters at the El Paso, Texas, border, where he also gave an update on the ongoing construction of a border wall.
He noted that 76 miles worth has been constructed this year, with much more on the way.
Morgan expects at least 450 new miles of the wall to be built by the end of 2020. This clearly indicates that the Trump Administration is moving forward with all deliberate speed, in spite of Democrats attempting to stall progress.
More funding for the border wall is going to trigger a very big fight in Congress leading up to November, where a new spending bill will need to be passed or the federal government will shut down.
Democratic leaders have said they plan to offer zero dollars for Trump’s wall.
Republicans are proposing that $5 billion from domestic programs be spent on the wall, with plans to divert another $7 billion in military construction funds to border projects.
If the Senate approves an additional $12 billion in funding for the wall, that would likely fund the rest of the project.
The Trump administration has said that around 900 miles of the border wall will either be built or updated by 2020.
That leaves around 1,000 miles on the border that would need a barrier of some sort.
It could be even less given some areas are too dangerous for immigrants to cross and/or has natural barriers that prevent crossing.
The additional $12 billion would likely cover that with no problem at all. And Democrats are going to keep trying their hardest to stop Trump from getting this done.