Aug 8, 2018 - Politics & Policy

Thousands of families cross southern border despite "zero tolerance"

Photo: Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images

In July, 9,258 family members were caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, according to Customs and Border Protection data released today — not quite 200 fewer than the month before and a record high for July since at least 2012.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's family separation policy does not seem to have had its intended deterrent effect. The numbers highlight the desperation of many migrant families, risking family separation to escape their plight at home. And while the overall number of arrests along the border were lower, they're in line with past years — with the exception of 2017's statistical anomaly.

What they're saying: DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton lauded the drop in overall numbers in July in a statement, giving credit to the Trump administration policies. But he later admitted that the number of families apprehended is still high "and their percentage of total crossings has increased as court decisions prevent us from detaining and prosecuting family unit adults. The inability to apply consequences to any law breaker ultimately threatens the safety and security of the nation and its communities."

Go deeper