Border apprehensions drop for first time this fiscal year

McALLEN — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the number of apprehended people at the U.S.-Mexico border dropped in June, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 104,344 people in June, down nearly 30% from May’s apprehensions, when 144,278 immigrants were apprehended, the DHS release read.

June’s numbers come amid reports that the “Remain in Mexico” policy, a DHS-led initiative which returns recently arrived immigrants to Mexico to wait for their respective U.S. immigration proceedings, has been expanded to the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

“Additionally, we are working with the Government of Mexico to expand Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) to allow the U.S. to more effectively assist legitimate asylum-seekers and individuals fleeing persecution and deter migrants with false or meritless claims from making the journey.

“And since the administration reached a new agreement with Mexico, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the number of interdictions on the Mexican southern border,” the release read.

In June, President Trump threatened to implement strict tariffs on Mexico if they failed to control the migration of Central American asylum seekers.

Shortly thereafter, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador subsequently deployed Mexican National Guard troops to stop the flow of people surrendering to agents at the border.

U.S. government officials confirmed Tuesday that they began sending Central American asylum seekers to Tamaulipas, specifically to the city of Nuevo Laredo.

Tamaulipas is on the U.S Department of State’s list of Mexican states in which U.S. citizens are told to “exercise increased caution” while visiting, listing it as a “Level 2” advisory due to “crime and kidnapping,” according to the website.

Tamaulipas is also known as the home of the Gulf and Zeta cartels, which routinely engage in kidnappings and other violent acts.