Preliminary data shows illegal immigration at America's southwest border rose 233 percent in April from the previous period last year.
The Washington Times reported Thursday the Border Patrol caught close to 39,000 illegal immigrants trying to cross into the United States from Mexico last month. That marks the largest increase from year to year since the start of the current decade.
America's catch and release policy allows many people who are intercepted at the border to be released into the U.S. after they are processed, on the promise they will appear before a judge at a later date.
"The reason is obvious: If you can cross the border illegally without any consequence, why not," National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd told the Times. "As long as the catch and release policy-program exists, large numbers of people are going to cross the border illegally."
Data in March, meanwhile, showed illegal immigration at the southeast border was up 200 percent from the same period last year.
A caravan of migrants seeking asylum made its way from Central America and through Mexico to the U.S. border in recent weeks. The Department of Justice responded by sending additional assistant U.S. attorneys and immigration judges to the area to help process them.
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