A wave of asylum-seekers from central America has driven unauthorized border crossings back to Bush-era numbers while President Trump pushes his national emergency to free up funds for border fencing.
- Border patrol officials picked up or turned away 76,325 immigrants at the southern border last month, Axios' Stef Kight reports.
The big picture: "For the fourth time in five months, the number of migrant families crossing the southwest border has broken records," per the NYT.
- The total number of people apprehended since October has risen 90% over the same stretch last year, NPR notes.
- Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan: “The system is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point."
Why it matters: The majority of these immigrants are families or unaccompanied minors, many of whom are seeking asylum, Stef emails.
- In the past, Mexico has been the most popular country of origin for immigrants coming across the border.
- Now, 96% of apprehended family members so far in FY 2019 have come from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador, as well as 83% of unaccompanied minors.
- These immigrants are fleeing nations suffering from poverty, widespread violent crime and some of the highest murder rates in the world.
The bottom line: "The high number of families crossing the border suggest that President Trump’s policies aimed at deterring asylum seekers are not having their intended effect," the Times reports.