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The Number of Migrants Crossing the Border is Steadily Rising

Agents from Border Patrol in Rio Grande City apprehended 102 migrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border in April.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol/Flickr (Public Domain)
Agents from Border Patrol in Rio Grande City apprehended 102 migrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border in April.

From Texas StandardData from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection show apprehensions of families and unaccompanied minors crossing the Texas-Mexico border has hit levels not seen since the 2014 border surge. There were more than 7,100 such cases in the Rio Grande sector last month alone.

Summer is the time we usually see spikes in illegal border crossings, so what does this mean for the coming season?

Aaron Nelsen reports from Rio Grande Valley Bureau of the  San Antonio Express News – he says although Border Patrol is still seeing a lot of families and children crossing, the numbers are still significantly lower than those of 2014. The number of people crossing the border is, however, steadily rising.

“We are definitely seeing an increase,” Nelsen says. “Part of what some analysts and just reporting with people on the ground seems to suggest is that the crisis in Central America – the things that are pushing people to immigrate are still there.”

Nelsen says that although numbers dropped due to increased enforcement in Mexico last year, it’s possible that smugglers are now finding new routes. But part of the rising number of people crossing the border is because there has been little to no change in the conditions people are seeking to leave – particularly in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

“(There’s) really crushing poverty, which has been an issue for many many years,” Nelsen says. “But it seems that the violence … it seems to be a tipping point it really pushing people and has been for the past few years.”

Nelsen says that although there is a disconnect between migrants’ expectations about crossing the border and the dangerous realities, people aren’t going to stop coming.

“People try to separate the possibility of danger or something terrible happening to them. ‘That’s gonna happen to somebody else, not me,’” Nelsen says. “At the end of the day, the people that feel really desperate – that they have no other situation, no other alternative to look to or turn to – this is what they’re going to do.”

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Rhonda is the newest member of the KUT News team, joining in late 2013 as producer for KUT's new daily news program, The Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.