(NEW YORK) — Customs and Border Protection said on Thursday that fewer people had been detained for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in July compared to June.
There were 71,999 apprehensions in July compared to 94,908 in June, according to CBP. In May, there were 132,870 apprehensions — among the highest monthly rates ever recorded by CBP.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan applauded the decline but said there is still a crisis on the border.
“The situation is improving by every available metric, but, I want to be very clear, that we remain at and beyond crisis levels in illegal crossings even as our initiatives to address irregular flows and mitigate humanitarian conditions are making an impact,” McAleenan said in a statement.
One reason for the drop in numbers is that there was a 26% decline in migrants coming from Guatemala from June to July, McAleenan said.
During July, President Donald Trump’s administration was in talks with his Guatemalan counterpart Jimmy Morales to stem the flow of migrants reaching the southern U.S. border by crossing through Guatemala. The two countries reached a deal in late July, though it faces legal challenges.
In addition, there were almost 2,000 fewer unaccompanied children were apprehended from June to July, while family unit apprehensions were down by almost 15,000, according to CBP.
Single adult apprehensions also fell from 30,181 to 23,872.
McAleenan said that the reduced numbers have meant that the CBP has seen reduced waits at border stations and has taken fewer children into custody.
CBP has faced intense scrutiny over the conditions at certain Border Protection facilities where children are being held. Independent inspectors have claimed that migrant children were being kept at border stations with deplorable conditions, without soap, toothbrushes and with only infrequent opportunities to wash themselves.
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