Border authorities nabbed nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants trying to sneak into the country from Mexico in April, but the nature of the crisis is changing from children to adults, officials revealed late Tuesday.
The numbers, while expected, were still stunning, marking the highest monthly total in more than 20 years, and topping even March’s grim figures, signaling the surge is not abating.
But the demographics of those coming are shifting.
The number of juveniles caught by Border Patrol agents when they show up at the border without parents — known as Unaccompanied Alien Children or UACs in government-speak — fell slightly last month, to fewer than 17,000, down from more than 18,700 in March.
And the number of migrants traveling as family units — defined as a parent and at least one child — also fell, from 53,406 to 48,226.
Single adults caught by the Border Patrol, though, rose to 108,301, a 12% increase compared to March.
Troy Miller, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, called it “a large influx of illegal migration.”
And he highlighted the abuses migrants face.
Just this week the Border Patrol reported rescuing a group of five young girls abandoned alone, including one who was only 11 months old. The others were 7, 5, 3 and 2 years of age.
“Day after day, CBP rescues migrants abandoned in harsh terrain, left for dead with no food or water,” Mr. Miller said.
CBP officials did take a victory lap over the drop in UACs and the Border Patrol’s success in cutting the number of children in its custody from more than 5,000 at the peak in March to fewer than 500 on Tuesday.