The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Friday that immigration officials had apprehended more people in fiscal 2014 than in the year before, but that the number of Mexican nationals was down.
The officials said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's apprehensions of Mexicans had fallen 14 percent, but those of individuals from other countries, predominantly in Central America, had risen 68 percent.
The U.S. Border Patrol reported more than 486,000 apprehensions nationwide, compared with more than 420,000 in 2013.
Officials attributed the rise to the influx of unaccompanied children in south Texas a few months ago.
In addition, 85 percent of removals and returns from within the United States were of convicted criminals, up from 67 percent in 2011.
DHS said the results reflected a commitment to smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of convicted criminals and recent undocumented border entrants.
The department said total border apprehensions remained at significantly reduced levels compared with those of 2000, when the Border Patrol reported a peak of 1.6 million apprehensions.