Border Crisis

November Border Apprehensions Level Off, but Hit Another Record High

For the first month since April, the number of border apprehensions as reported by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not increase.

CBP reported 70,000 total encounters for the month of November, about the same as reported in October, though it marks the highest number on record for the month.

Data and chart from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Last year, as apprehensions were declining from the record highs of summer 2019, CBP reported 43,000 encounters for the month of November.

“November encounters outpaced what we saw last year,” said acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan. “The policy loopholes that continue to plague our immigration system are exacerbated by the fact that COVID-19 has disrupted regional economies, prompting new waves of migrants during a global pandemic.”

Across the entire southwest border, single adults currently account for most apprehensions at 58,500, while family unit apprehensions totaled 4,100.

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Family unit apprehensions declined by 10 percent between October and November while apprehensions of single adults increased by less than one percent.

Specifically in the CBP sectors located in Texas, family unit apprehensions declined by 13 percent and apprehensions of single adults also declined by two percent.

The Laredo sector, which has seen an uptick in apprehensions this year, saw a notable drop in apprehensions of single adults from 8,600 in October to 7,500 in November.

Meanwhile, the Del Rio sector to the northwest of Laredo saw an increase from 6,400 to 7,000.

Construction on the border wall under the Trump administration has surpassed 400 miles this year and CBP hopes to complete 450 miles by the end of the year, but future construction is uncertain.

During the presidential campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden said that “not another foot of wall would be constructed” under his administration.

But Morgan warns that abruptly ending construction on the wall would be a substantial cost to the government.

“Nearly all of the miles funded for new border wall system are currently under contract. The impact of stopping construction would be disastrous,” said Morgan.

He listed three reasons why ending the contract would be costly: “The costs [. . . of] a settlement process for termination of convenience,” “materials have already been purchased” including “270,000 tons of steel,” and there would be “more costs incurred for restoration, such as filling in trenches already dug.”

Recent reports say that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has projected that of the $3.3 billion in funds for the border wall project, firms contracted to build the wall could bill the government $700 million to end the construction.

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