MISSION, Texas (AP) – Felicita Villagran Villeda and her 15-year-old son sat on a dirt road next to the Rio Grande, passing a jug of plastic water from one side to the other, trying to catch their breath while the Texas sun down on them above. Border Patrol agents dressed in green uniforms waited to take them.
Agents patrolling the river that forms the border between the United States and Mexico in Texas say they are starting to see more people like the Guatemalan mother and son who fled their country of origin two weeks earlier.
The election of President Donald Trump contributed to a dramatic decline in migration, causing the number of border arrests to reach an all-time low in April and helping the United States end fiscal year 2017 in a 45-year low. for the arrests of the Border Patrol.
But since it hit bottom in April, the number of immigrants trapped on the southern border increased monthly, driven in large part by the arrival of new Central American families such as the Villagrans. [19659002LosagentesdelaPatrullaFronterizaentrevistadosporTheAssociatedPressdicenqueesperanquelosnúmerossiganaumentandoloquevencomounaseñaldequelasfamiliasenCentroaméricaestánprobandolaadministraciónTrumpLosexpertosquesiguendecercalospatronesdemigracióndicenquecualquierdescensoseríatemporalsiempreycuandolamayoríadelagentehuya-ElSalvadorGuatemalayHonduras-siguensiendodevastadosportiroteosyviolenciadepandillas
Sitting beside the Rio Grande, Villagran said his decision to emigrate had nothing to do with politics or the White House, but his own personal situation. She was deported from the United States four years earlier, and after returning to Guatemala, said she had been kidnapped and released.
"Now they ask me for money again," he said. "I do not even have a dollar."
Border Patrol said on Tuesday it had made 22,537 seizures on the southwest border in September, nearly double the 11,127 arrests in April. September is the last month for which the Border Patrol has published its figures.
Border apprehensions have diminished and flowed for a long time based on the immigration policy of the United States, as well as the political and economic conditions in Latin America. Border crossings increased last year, especially in November and December, only to fall when Trump took office in January. In December, the Border Patrol reported more than 43,000 arrests; two months later, that number was 18,800.
Some called the drop the "Trump effect", particularly when the new administration pursued a border wall, intensified the immigration-related arrests and indicated that it would open investigations of families who had paid smugglers, or "coyotes," known to be linked to the violent drug cartels. Reports reported that some smugglers were using the threat of a wall and stricter security on the border to charge higher prices to immigrants.
But the underlying problems in Central America have remained the same. The authorities of the migrant shelters in the United States and Mexico say they have heard of people who stay in Mexico more than they would or try to take refuge in their countries of origin, but that the United States remains the final destination of The majority of them.
A survey published earlier this year found that 30 percent of adults had considered migrating in the last year due to the effect of crime in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, which have a total population of around 30 millions of people. The survey was conducted by the Public Opinion Project of Latin America at Vanderbilt University.
"As long as they continue without looking at the countries of origin and the causes of migration, we will continue within the same parameters," said Ramón Márquez, director. of La 72, a refuge located near the Mexico-Guatemala border. The 72 has begun to see its monthly numbers of people served after a decline that reflects the figures of the United States.
Advocates of stricter immigration laws take the opposite view of the increase: that the US government. UU It must keep its promises to tighten border security. Although prototypes of a border wall are being built, the government's proposal to start building the wall has stalled in Congress.
The largest Border Patrol union endorsed Trump in last year's presidential election, and several agents interviewed by the AP said that the wall is necessary to keep immigrants away.
"They're trying to see what it all means, what management rhetoric means, and how serious we are to eliminate people," said Ryan Landrum, the patrol officer in charge. from the agency station in Rio Grande City.
Ronald Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, said on Tuesday that the government was "very concerned" about the number of families and unaccompanied children still showing up at the border. Vitiello said his agency wanted changes to a 2008 law that protects children from being deported quickly if they are not from Mexico or Canada, to discourage parents in Central America who believe their children will find refuge in the US. UU
Border apprehensions are by their nature, an incomplete measure of who is crossing the border, because they do not represent the people who escape on foot the Border Patrol agents or are smuggled in trucks and trucks beyond the posts of control of the road. Authorities along the border made several important discoveries this year of commercial trucks filled with illegally entering immigrants.
Ten people died in July after being packed in a tractor truck with a broken refrigeration system discovered outside of a San Antonio Walmart. The people on board struggled to breathe, and one told the authorities that many people were hitting the walls trying to stop the driver. Some of the 29 survivors told authorities that dozens of other passengers fled before the police arrived.
"The amount of people that were in that compartment, in that trailer in San Antonio, showed us that a lot of people are trying to do that." said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a researcher at the University of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Associated Press journalist Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed to this report.
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