It’s Not Just Central America: Where Illegal Immigrants on the Border Come From

Thursday, June 20, 2019
By Paul Martin

Fred Lucas
June 20, 2019

The recent spike in illegal immigration from African countries underscores the increase in migrants coming from around the globe to sneak across the southern border—including more than 10,000 from Asia and almost 900 from Europe last year.

In recent weeks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended more than 500 illegal immigrants from African countries that include Angola, Cameroon, and both the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Associated Press reported.

That’s more than twice the 211 total apprehensions during fiscal year 2018 of illegal border crossers from the continent.

Customs and Border Protection numbers from fiscal 2018 show significant numbers from other continents as well.

Of the total of 404,142 apprehensions, 248,690 were what the government classifies as “other than Mexicans,” or OTMs. Apprehensions of other Central Americans outpaced Mexicans for the third consecutive year, according to the Pew Research Center.

Those caught along the southern border mostly came from North and South America; that’s counting 155,452 from Mexico and 116,808 from Guatemala.

“We have always seen what’s classified as ‘other than Mexicans’ crossing the border, but the surge we are seeing now is because of the asylum loopholes,” Heritage Foundation national security expert James Carafano told The Daily Signal.

In fiscal year 2018, which ended Sept. 30, a total of 22,491 refugees resettled in the United States. The largest number came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, followed by Burma, Ukraine, Bhutan, and Eritrea, according to Pew.

More than a quarter of them resettled in four states: Texas, Washington, Ohio, and California.

President Donald Trump announced Monday on Twitter that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens.”

Although Trump was vague about his order for ICE, Heritage’s Carafano said the president likely was referring to the more than 1 million illegal immigrants who remain in the United States despite a final deportation order.

More than 13,000 of those caught at the border in fiscal 2018 came from Asian countries. The largest portion—9,234—came from India, followed by Bangladesh with 1,203, China with 1,077, and Nepal with 719.

Another 863 captured border crossers were from Europe, with the largest portion, 449, from Romania, according to the CBP numbers.

No other European country was the source of as many as 100 apprehensions. The Border Patrol captured 61 people from Turkey.

The continent of Australia accounted for only three of those caught.

The Middle East is a region of particular concern to Americans. But only 172 illegal immigrants from that volatile region, which spans parts of three continents, were captured at the southern border in fiscal 2018.

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