US detains record 76,000 minors traveling alone in 2019

The U.S. detained more unaccompanied minors trying to cross the nation’s southwestern border in the past year than ever recorded, according to newly released figures from the Trump administration.

By the end of fiscal 2019 in September, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended 76,020 minors at the nation’s southwestern border, an increase of 52 percent from the previous fiscal year.

Most of the migrant children came from Central America — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — while more than 10,400 came from Mexico. 

The figures released by the Department of Homeland Security show a whopping 342 percent increase in the total number of family units apprehended at the border, with 473,682 in the past fiscal year, compared to 107,212 the year before.

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Much of the monthly data had previously been released, though the latest figures showing complete data for the past fiscal year illustrate the challenge the Trump administration has faced in stemming the number of migrants trying to enter the U.S.

Overall border apprehensions dropped to their lowest level for fiscal 2019 in September after hitting a peak in May.

The U.S. began to see a rise in child migrant numbers back in 2014, during the Obama administration, with more than 67,000 being detained at the southwestern border.

In an effort to combat the rising numbers, the Trump administration utilized the method of separating children from relatives. Other recent policies have also made it harder for the children to seek asylum in the U.S.

In addition to the U.S., Mexico has experienced a similar uptick in the number of migrant children attempting to enter its country, The New York Times reported. Roughly 40,500 children were detained by the Mexican government this fiscal year.

In Mexico, by law, the children are immediately placed into the custody of the country’s national child protection agency, which finds housing for the children in accommodating shelters.

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