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Illegal Immigration Rises For Third Straight Month, Remains Below 2016 Level

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Arrests of illegal aliens along the U.S.-Mexico border spiked in July, the third consecutive month that arrests have risen since falling to recent lows this spring, according to government data released Tuesday.

Border patrol agents caught 18,198 individuals trying to sneak across the southwest border, while Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers turned away 6,833 people deemed inadmissible after presenting themselves at ports of entry. The combined total for July —  25,031 — was 16 percent higher than the previous month.

Border arrests are used as a proxy for overall levels of illegal immigration. The number of people caught trying to enter the U.S illegally typically falls during the hotter summer months, so recent trends indicate that the Trump administration’s early success in reducing illegal immigration may be waning.

Department of Homeland Security spokesperson David Lapan said Tuesday that officials are still trying to determine why illegal immigration is uncharacteristically rising this summer.

“The short answer is we don’t know what all of those causes are,” he told reporters.

Along with overall illegal immigration, attempted entry by unaccompanied minors (UAC) and family units also rose in July: Border agents detained 27 percent more UACs than in June, while the number of people arriving in family units jumped 46 percent. Those cases are considered particularly troublesome because they often trigger complex appeals in immigration courts.

The rise in illegal immigration comes even as the Trump administration has ramped up deportations of illegal aliens. Government statistics show that immigration judges issued 49,983 orders of removal between Feb. 1 and July 31, while 7,086 illegal immigrants left the U.S. on their own accord. That was a 31 percent increase over the same time period in 2016.

Despite the recent increase in border arrests, illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border remains well below 2016 levels. There were 47 percent fewer arrests in July than in the same month last year, and year-to-date totals for FY 2017 are 22 percent lower than the same period in FY 2016.

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