U.S. border agency touts immigration enforcement

Metal wall covered with razor wire, and residential area in background (© Charlie Riedel/AP Images)
A wall covered with razor wire separates Nogales, Arizona, from Nogales, Mexico, in 2019. (© Charlie Riedel/AP Images)

The acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had a clear message for anyone considering entering the U.S. illegally: “Today, right now in March, if you come to our border and attempt to illegally enter, to violate our laws and file a meritless based claim, you will be removed, you will be returned, or have an appropriate consequence applied.”

Acting Commissioner of CBP Mark Morgan on March 12 said, “We have continued to make incredible progress strengthening our border, specifically not only to address the multitude of threats that we have, but specifically addressing the flow of illegal immigration.”

Over the course of the past five months, the CBP has been removing more illegal immigrants than it has apprehended.

Apprehensions have historically been used as a measure of illegal immigration, according to the Congressional Research Service.

This means that for eight months, there was a cumulative decrease in illegal border crossings. And while there was a slight leveling off of numbers in February 2020, the CBP has noted that border crossings historically increase during the month of February.

Graph with numbers and words describing border migration (State Dept.)
(State Dept.)

In 2019, for example, there was an increase in apprehensions of more than 30% from January to February, which Morgan said proves the U.S. government’s new immigration policies are holding firm this year.

The CBP also remains committed to ensuring the safety of migrants. Morgan stressed that human traffickers and smugglers will continue to exploit women, children and families traveling to the U.S. border.

“Do not trust the human smugglers,” he said. “Do not endanger yourself or your children by embarking on the dangerous journey to the United States. It will be in vain.”