Feb 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Illegal border crossings continue to fall as U.S. enforces asylum agreements

A Honduran migrant climbs on the U.S.-Mexico border fence near Tijuana in 2018. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images

The number of attempted illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border fell for the eighth straight month in January to 36,679, Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Last year’s border crisis largely consisted of Central American families and children attempting to reach the U.S., but over the last few months, the Trump administration has begun implementing asylum agreements with those nations. That has allowed immigration officials to deport asylum seekers to Central American countries that are not their home.

  • January's illegal border crossing figure was 37% lower than the same month last year, but illegal border crossings by single Mexican adults are on the rise.
  • Last year, about 61% of attempted illegal border crossings were by people from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador, Morgan said. 61% are now Mexican nationals.

The big picture: Morgan praised the Trump administration’s newly implemented asylum agreements, saying, "If we encounter you, if you're illegally in this country, you will not be allowed in the United States."

  • So far, 536 Honduran and Salvadoran asylum-seekers who reached the U.S. have been sent to Guatemala, according to Guatemalan data — and more than 75% have been women and children.
  • Morgan said they hope to begin implementing a similar agreement with Honduras in the next week.

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Federal court temporarily halts "Remain in Mexico" program, then grants emergency stay

Migrant wearing a cap with U.S. flagin front of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Photo: Jair Cabrera Torres/picture alliance via Getty Image

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's earlier injunction on Friday, temporarily stopping the Trump administration from enforcing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), only to be reinstated a couple of hours later, AP reports.

The state of play: After the court's initial ruling, the judges granted the Trump administration's request for an emergency stay just hours later, per The Washington Post. The Department of Justice argued there could be an influx of migrants who reach the border since 25,000 migrants have been ­waiting in Mexico, endangering national security.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Family of Mexican teen killed by border agent cannot sue, SCOTUS rules

Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4, along ideological lines, that the family of a Mexican teenager who was killed across the southern border by a U.S. border agent cannot sue for damages.

Why it matters: The court’s decision avoids inviting more lawsuits from foreign nationals against U.S. law enforcement. The court noted in its opinion that “a cross-border shooting claim has foreign relations and national security implications.”

$3.83 billion from Pentagon budget to be diverted for Trump border wall

A section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Photo: Jinitzail Hernández/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

The Department of Defense is rerouting $3.83 billion from its budget to fund President Trump's southern border wall, according to budget documents cited by the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The money is being pulled from other Pentagon budget items including aircraft, Army automobiles and miscellaneous equipment to fulfill Trump's campaign promise of a border barrier between the U.S. and Mexico. The reallocation is part of a larger effort to divert $7.2 billion in Pentagon funds this year for the project, per the Post.