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Border apprehensions rose slightly in April, but number of unaccompanied minors dropped

The 21-year high in monthly border stops was driven mainly by single adults attempting to cross into the U.S. illegally, according to CBP data.
Image: Migrants cross the border in Del Rio, Texas
Migrants from Venezuela cross the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Del Rio, Texas, on May 11, 2021.James Breeden / Reuters

More than 178,000 immigrants were stopped at the southwest border in April, marking a 21-year high in monthly apprehensions, while the number of migrant children crossing the border without their parents fell by 12 percent, according to new numbers published Tuesday by Customs and Border Protection.

The number of monthly encounters was up slightly from March, in which Customs and Border Protection encountered just over 173,000 immigrants crossing into the United States from the border with Mexico.

The 21-year high was driven mainly by single adults attempting to cross the border illegally, according to CBP data, the vast majority of which were expelled. The Biden administration is continuing to turn back single adults and many families under an authority enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention intended to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Customs and Border Protection said 62.5 percent of all immigrants encountered at the Southwest border in April were expelled under the CDC authority.

Meanwhile, the number of children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador crossing into the United States without a parent dropped from 15,918 in March – the highest number since data collection on unaccompanied children began in 2010 – to 13,962 in April.

The Biden administration has also decreased the amount of time children spend in border patrol custody. In March, more than 5,000 children were in border patrol custody, most staying over the 72-hour legal limit, spending an average of 115 hours in facilities without beds or daily showers.

As of Tuesday, there were 455 children in border patrol custody, each spending an average of 28 hours in those facilities.

Alleviating overcrowding in border patrol facilities has meant more children in Health and Human Services care, where they are better cared for and placed with a case manager. As of Tuesday, there were more than 20,000 children in HHS care.