‘You have people coming in claiming asylum. They’re all reading exactly what the lawyer gives them…’
(AFP) The number of migrants detained entering the United States from Mexico without documents soared to more than 103,000 in March, with the number of families arriving jumping as well, US Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday.
The sharp upturn from the winter months, when the figure averaged around 60,000 a month, underscored the ineffectiveness of Trump administration efforts to stem the flow of migrants fleeing endemic poverty and violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The data was released as President Donald Trump launches into a sweeping shakeup in the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees most border policing activities including the CBP.
Several other Nielsen lieutenants are also reportedly being forced out, while Trump has named CBP commissioner Kevin McAleenan to replace her at least temporarily.
Of the 103,492 total migrants apprehended or deemed inadmissable last month, 57,271 came in family groups and 9,348 as unaccompanied children.
In February, the total was 76,535 apprehended, including 40,741 in family groups and 7,254 children traveling on their own.
Trump is reportedly angry about the continuing high numbers of migrants, many of whom are crossing the border illegally and then requesting asylum.
But Nielsen has maintained that her hands were tied by US laws over how much she could do to deter them.
“You have to fix the asylum situation,” Trump told reporters earlier Tuesday.
“It’s ridiculous. You have people coming in claiming asylum. They’re all reading exactly what the lawyer gives them…. Read what that is and all of a sudden you’re entitled to asylum. And some of these people are not people you want in our country,” he said.
Trump accused courts and Democrats in Congress of blocking efforts to address the flow of immigrants.
“These are people coming into our country with criminal records. We have murderers coming in. We have drug lords coming in. We have gangs coming in. And we’re stopping them,” he added.
© Agence France-Presse