U.S. Customs and Border Protection released data on migrant apprehensions and drug seizures during April, the first month during which the U.S.-Mexico border spent entirely under near-closure quarantine.
As expected, the number of undocumented migrants apprehended at the border declined, as did seizures of nearly all drugs. However, April was not the month of least migration in recent memory, as I’d expected. Despite a lockdown of the border and immediate, legally dubious “expulsions” of most border-crossers, the 15,862 people apprehended by Border Patrol last month was still a higher monthly total than February through April of 2017, when migration plummeted following Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Here’s what monthly drug seizures at the border look like. Though they are down, you don’t see a sharp break in March and April. It may be that traffickers are still trying to cross with the same amount of product as always, despite the stricter border measures. Or it may be that CBP, with a lot less traffic to inspect, is seizing a larger percentage of a smaller overall quantity of smuggled drugs. No idea.
I’ve got a bunch more infographics to update, but as you can see from all the other things I’m putting on this site this evening, it’s been a long and full day, even my late-afternoon coffee is wearing off, and I’m likely to make mistakes. So more tomorrow.
When I get anxious about something, I may make a spreadsheet about it to try to understand it better. (Doesn’t everyone?) So I made these using the New York Timescase data at Github, and the COVID Tracking Project Google Docs.
In the end, I don’t know what this all means—this is far from my specialty. But what I think it means is:
Northeastern states still have some of the fastest growth in coronavirus cases, but this may also be a measure of more aggressive testing. As a percentage of population, New York has done five times more testing than Texas.
The South is showing up a lot more, more than when I ran these numbers last week.
Some states (California, Minnesota) have low testing, but also may genuinely have slow growth because they’ve been strict about social distancing. Others (Texas, Georgia, Iowa) have low testing, and may be missing a lot of what’s happening.
Virginia and Alabama are among states with the highest percentage growth in cases despite being in the bottom 15 for testing. That seems alarming.
It’s all here in the northeast and mid-Atlantic, or at least this is where more people are able to take tests that turn out positive. Here are the states that rank in the top 20 on at least two of the three categories below.
At the bottom of each are shortened links to the documents from which we drew the information. The current collection of infographics covers the demobilized FARC population, U.S. aid, registered victims, U.S. cocaine prices, coca cultivation and eradication, cocaine seizures, homicides, kidnappings, and forced displacement.
We learned in Monday evening’s Washington Post that our president plans to take another $7.2 billion out of the Defense Department’s budget and put it into the border wall that he couldn’t convince Congress to pay for. If he gets his way, more than three out of every four dollars in border-wall money will have gone without congressional approval.
This sort of rule by decree is what we’ve seen in Latin America when democracies start giving way to dictatorship.
A new commentary at WOLA’s website breaks down what’s happening: the amounts involved, the convoluted way Trump is wresting the money from defense and avoiding Congress’s constitutional checks, and the situation in the courts, where our only hope lies.
Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released its August data about migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Using that, along with data from Mexico’s government and recent non-governmental studies, I posted a 9-tweet thread to Twitter last night, with 17 graphics. Here is that thread, deconstructed.
(1/9) Let’s post a bunch of migration data using CBP and Mexico government numbers.
With 800,000+ apprehended in 11 months, this is the largest apprehensions total since 2007. But unlike 2007, 2 out of 3 are children and parents. In fact, single adults are still trending down.
(2/9) Trump’s June tariff threat caused Mexico to increase its own apprehensions, leading to a drop in US apprehensions at the border. But we’ve seen this before: there were drops after crackdowns and disruptions in 2014 and 2017, and migration recovered after a few months.
(3/9) The crackdown has further increased demand on Mexico’s overwhelmed, underfunded asylum system.
(4/9) After the crackdown, migration from Guatemala dropped more sharply than migration from Honduras. Honduras is now the number-one origin country for migrants apprehended at the US-Mexico border, followed by Guatemala then Mexico.
(5/9) Add people on waitlists at ports of entry plus “Remain in Mexico” victims, and there were at least 52,000 asylum seekers stuck in Mexican border towns by the end of July. It’s probably somewhere around 65,000-70,000 now: a nightmare scenario.
(6/9) CBP seems to have eased “metering” ever-so-slightly in August. (6/9)
(7/9) 11 months into fiscal 2019, seizures of cocaine, meth, and fentanyl already exceed fiscal 2018. As usual, most seizures happen at ports of entry, not the areas in between where some would build more walls. Heroin is flat, perhaps because demand for fentanyl is greater.
(8/9) Marijuana seizures continue to decline sharply at the border, a likely outcome of states’ legalizations, and port-of-entry seizures are suddenly the majority.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) just released new border migration numbers through May. Border Patrol apprehended more migrants in May 2019 than in any month since March 2006 (monthly data here).But back then, something like 95% of migrants were single adults. In May, only 27% were single adults.
In what is becoming a monthly ritual, here are the numbers in graphical form. You can download an updated PDF with these and other graphics at the easy-to-remember URL bit.ly/2019wolaborder.
Finally, some charts showing border drug seizures through May. Note how nearly all drugs are overwhelmingly seized at the official land ports of entry. The action is not in the areas between the ports, where Border Patrol operates.
You can download an updated PDF with these and other graphics at the easy-to-remember URL bit.ly/2019wolaborder.
Yesterday, after CBP released its April statistics detailing migrants apprehended at the border, I rushed to update our package of graphics representing aspects of that data (which is always a big PDF file at http://bit.ly/2019wolaborder).
Kids and families were 68% of all apprehensions between the ports of entry last month. More than 2 out of 3. And kids and families are 64% of all apprehensions so far this year.
The current wave of kids and families dwarfs the 2014 and 2016 waves. This is not a temporary problem that you can push back by looking tough.
Family apprehensions grew from March to April, but unaccompanied kids and single adults were pretty flat. Numbers of single adults are still well below what was the norm as recently as 2012-14.
May apprehensions could be higher than April, but it usually drops after that because of summer heat.
“Metering” at ports of entry is draconian. For 11 months now, CBP has held the number of undocumented people who can present themselves at the ports to about 10,000 per month—half of them kids and families.
Kids and families allowed to present at ports of entry actually dropped by 18% from March to April. That’s stunning at a time of record arrivals between ports of entry. People are being incentivized to make their asylum claims “improperly” (entering without inspection, between the ports).
Cubans were fully a quarter of those allowed to present at the ports of entry in April. The number of Cubans has doubled since February, and is now half what it was before “wet foot dry foot” ended in January 2017.
Arrivals from Guatemala have leveled off. The April increase is coming from elsewhere.
El Salvador, long a distant 3rd place, is growing fast.
Lots more are coming from other countries. Nicaragua? Cuba? Don’t know.
I keep up-to-date a big PDF file full of stats and graphics about security and migration issues at the U.S.-Mexico border. Right now, it’s 2.2 megabytes and 36 pages long, and you can download it here or, more memorably, at the shortcut bit.ly/2019wolaborder.
It covers migration, Border Patrol staffing, the immigration court backlog, and security measures like terrorism, drugs, and so-called “spillover” violence (which doesn’t happen).