Apprehensions of people attempting to cross the southern border illegally have shot up 60 percent over the summer as those crossing try to get in before President Donald Trump can fulfill his promise to build a wall to stop them, McClatchy reports.
But the surge in apprehensions also means many more are succeeding in getting into the country, according to the report.
The number of illegal border crossers who were caught dropped to a 17-year low in April, shortly after Trump's inauguration. But the April figure of 11,125 more than doubled to 22,300 in August. And 8,300 turned themselves in at the border seeking asylum or other aid, McClatchy reported.
The largest increases have been in Central American families. That's believed to be because they are more able to demonstrate they face danger if they return home.
And even though the numbers are trending up since spring, the August 2017 numbers are 41 percent lower than August 2016. Year-to-date apprehensions have dropped 24 percent over the same period last year.
Smugglers have taken a wait-and-see attitude to see whether Trump's actions match his words, experts told McClatchy. As they figure out the new reality, they'll work around it.
"This is a sign that the deterrence talk can only have so much effect," said immigration attorney Bryan Johnson. "A lot of this is huffing and puffing and it’s not real. They're inflating the fruits of their work."
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