TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The totals and classifications of migrant apprehensions in southern Arizona don't seem to reflect the sizeable nationwide decline highlighted by leaders in Washington.
On Monday, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, announced the roughly 64,000 migrants stopped crossing from Mexico in Aug. was less than half the May total of nearly 133,000. He attributed the massive drop to improved cooperation from Mexico and policies from the Trump administration.
Even apprehensions from July to Aug. nationally fell quite a bit, but overall they’ve generally held steady or slight declined for Border Patrol agents in the Tucson sector.
Agent Daniel Hernandez said Tuesday that individual adult arrests are down, but approximately two-thirds of them are individuals actively avoiding agents. It makes for a more involved apprehension than those who simply surrender on first contact with Border Patrol, like families with children.
That's one demographic that Tucson sector is actually seeing more of these days. Hernandez said they're vulnerable.
"It's a concern to us because we definitely don't want these folks out in the desert, in the dangerous environment that we live in the Tucson sector," he said.
Agents coordinate with their Mexican counterparts to limit any possible surprises along the border. For example, Tucson sector shifted resources when larger groups of families made the trek to Sasabe instead of Ajo. Hernandez said it was a "nuance" they had not seen before.
"When we do see a group larger than normal...tens, dozens of people, it does require a lot of resources and drive those from the law enforcement operations is usually what happens," he said.
The size and frequency of those larger groups has declined, according to Hernandez.