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At US-Mexico Border: Arrests Are Down, Deportations Are Quick

Honduran brother and sister wait on the Mexican side of the Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge after their asylum-seeking family was denied entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers near Brownsville, Texas, June 26, 2018.

What's happening at the U.S. Mexico border?

Arrests are down. Deportations are swift. And the children who are detained are young.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University has released information based on case-by-case data obtained from a Freedom of Information Act campaign. It covers the period from October 2014 through April 2018 and gives a good idea of what has been happening relatively recently.

Here are TRAC's highlights:

Border Patrol arrests of families and children are down. Even accounting for seasonal variations, the number of adults apprehended with children at the U.S./Mexico border so far during FY 2018 (23,162) (since October) is still 14.5 percent lower than the number of adults arrested with children during the same seven-month period in FY 2017 (27,080).

The number of unaccompanied children arrested by the Border Patrol this year is also down as compared with the same period during FY 2017.

Most people detained are swiftly deported. Already, 20,846 out of the 24,876 adults arrested in April without children have been deported — either through expedited removal or reinstatement of removal. Many adults arriving with children are also quickly deported.

A total of 1,060 out of the 4,537 adults arrested with children during April 2018 have been deported. A smaller number of children — only 851 out of the 5,144 detained during April as part of family units — has been deported. Thus, several hundred parents appear to have been deported without their children in April alone

Children apprehended are young. As of April 2018, over half (51.2 percent) of the children arrested with parents this fiscal year were only 7 years of age or younger. Nearly a quarter (22.9 percent) were three or younger.

Role of criminal prosecutions. Family separations in April 2018 do not appear to have been driven by criminal prosecutions of parents. These case-by-case Border Patrol records indicate that only one adult member of a family unit was referred for criminal prosecution during all of April 2018.

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