March statistics are in for the number of apprehensions along the southern border. As expected it went slightly over 100,000 (apprehensions plus “inadmissables”). High for the last five years but not necessarily historically when in early 2000s there was a March or two with double that number.
approximately 53,000 families and nearly 9,000 unaccompanied children..nearly 11,000 migrants who appeared at ports of entry to claim asylum were deemed “inadmissible” and turned back…CBP recorded about 100 large groups, which the agency defines as groups of more than 100 migrants, in March…the majority of the migrants apprehended were from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, collectively known as the “Northern Triangle.”
This is a continuation of earlier trends of families coming from Northern Triangle countries. Turning away as many at border entry points makes it not surprising as many are seeking asylum by crossing between entry points. There is a large number of large groups (bus size), though perhaps not as much of the total as I expected.
One interesting thing will be to see if there is much of a seasonal trend. In the past there appeared to be a bit of a spike in spring prior to the hottest summer months. That effect also seems a bit more muted these past five years with additional factors driving the numbers.
Unfortunately, ecotourism is suffering due to the wall publicity.
Included some quotes
In normal years, ecotourism along the U.S.- Mexico border brings in around half a billion dollars. 2019 was predicted to be a blockbuster year for visitors, but that’s not happening – largely thanks to Trump’s push for a border wall.
An account of some living in Brownsville between the river and the wall. Note this account also describes status of asylum seekers:
The fencing was intended to help keep out drug smugglers and unauthorized migrants. But in some ways it has complicated the Trump administration’s attempts to halt the waves of migrant families from Central America who have been crossing the border recently. Those who cross in the Rio Grande Valley do not have to breach a border wall to claim asylum, because they reach U.S. soil and gain that right as soon as they have crossed the river. So for them, the situation is no different than it would be if there were no wall or fence at all.
Columbus is a small community of ~1600 people three miles north of the border. On the Mexican side of the border is Puerto Palomas with ~4600 people, so this is a smaller community than many on the border. It is also relatively isolated between El Paso and Antelope Wells.
The town website talks about living life on the borderline
Shortly after Trump took office, a story was written about Columbus. There was three miles of pedestrian fencing. Otherwise residents noted Columbus as a fairly quiet section and were at least as concerned about economic effects as any border crossing.
The single largest project is a counternarcotics project and $30m and the largest category is in group of “governance”.
So the amount of aid is both large (in sense of $500m) but also small (compared to $10b in remittances). You want these projects to be well-run and successful. However, the extent to which they are cancelled or not well run, influences both the economy and conditions in Northern Triangle Countries.
If they are not well run, then I expect more people to find reasons to leave, and the net result will be more emigrants and hence also more remittances back to the home economy. I think we’re being penny wise and pound foolish here.
This particular holding pen didn’t last long before it was disbanded. Apparently, the optics weren’t good. There is some discussion as well on whether it was strictly necessary or done in part for the optics.