The number of unaccompanied children streaming across the U.S.-Mexico border has dramatically slowed from the highs seen earlier this year, federal officials said Thursday. Around 5,500 unaccompanied children and a little more than 7,400 adults with children were caught at the southern border in July, the lowest number of children crossing alone since February — and just half the number that were crossed in June, according to data released by the Department of Homeland Security.
In June, 10,628 unaccompanied children and 16,300 adults with kids were caught. Similar numbers were seen in May, and the number of kids caught crossing was greater than 7,000 in both March and April, the DHS said. In February, just 4,846 unaccompanied children were apprehended.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson called the decrease “good news,” but said the decrease doesn’t mean the crisis is over. “We continue to have much work to do to address this issue and our message continues to be clear—‘our border is not open to illegal migration,’” he said.
The number of unaccompanied children caught crossing the southwest border is still far higher than in past years. Almost 63,000 unaccompanied children were caught at the border from October 1, 2013 to July 31, 2014, compared with around 31,500 in the year prior, the department said.
— Phil Helsel