Illegal immigration along U.S.-Mexico border surged 230 percent in April compared to last year, according to new numbers released Thursday that experts said expose major loopholes in American immigration law.
Chief among the loopholes is the de facto “catch-and-release” policy that sees most illegal immigrants caught at the border quickly put back out on the streets, with the hope that they’ll return to be deported later.
Perhaps 75 percent of all migrants caught by Border Patrol agents are given catch and release, said Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents line agents. Knowing they’ll be released rather than quickly deported has served as an enticement for more illegal immigrants to make the journey, he said.
“The reason is obvious: If you can cross the border illegally without any consequence, why not? As long as the catch-and-release policy-program exists, large numbers of people are going to cross the border illegally,” said Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.
April’s numbers continue a months-long trend of worsening illegal immigration.
The Border Patrol says it nabbed 38,234 illegal immigrants during the month, while Customs and Border Protection Officers encountered 12,690 more people who tried to come through the official ports of entry without permission.
That makes for the worst month since President Trump took office.
It’s also a huge turnaround from last year at this time, when the new president’s get-tough rhetoric sparked a massive drop. In April 2017, Border Patrol agents nabbed just 11,1129 people, and CBP officers encountered 4,646 others.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly bragged about those early figures, and Democrats have also seized on them, saying the border situation was essentially solved.