U.S. lower border arrests since 1971.

PHOENIX – The post-election decrease in illegal crossings along the US-Mexico border has ended, according to statistics published by the federal government on Tuesday.

But despite the rebound of immigrants trying to enter the country illegally, the total number stopped at the southwestern border still reached its lowest recorded mark in fiscal year 2017, according to US Customs and Border Protection.

Border Patrol agents caught 303,916 people who crossed the border for fiscal year 2017, which ended in September. At the same time, customs officials at the ports of entry processed 111,275 inadmissible persons, migrants who were denied legal entry to the country. That includes Central American children and families seeking refuge in the US. UU

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In another milestone, the majority, approximately 58%, of immigrants detained at the border came from countries other than Mexico, mostly from Central America . That is the largest participation in history, and only the second year that Mexican migrants obtained less than half of the total apprehensions.

A 1-year-old Salvador clings to his mother after surrendering to United States Border Patrol agents. They are part of a growing group of immigrants to the United States who are fleeing gang violence in Central America. (Photo: John Moore, Getty Images)

The & Trump Effect # 39; fades quickly

The arrival of President Trump to the White House in January 2017 seemed to trigger the historic fall in apprehensions during the first four months of his presidency.

The number of arrests, the best measure of attempted illegal immigration, reached its lowest point in April since Customs and Border Protection began to track that information.

At that time, the Trump administration attributed the decrease in apprehensions and people surrendering to the border.

But immigrant advocates predicted that the decline would be temporary and that many immigrants were waiting to see what would happen under Trump before attempting to illegally enter the US. UU They anticipated that the number of illegal entries in the country would increase once the novelty of a new administration faded.

Figures published this week seem to show that this is what happened.

With the beginning of the summer, the arrests of the Border Patrol began to increase again. Meanwhile, customs officials at the ports of entry recorded an increase in the number of migrant minors and families in Central America who turn themselves in and seek asylum. A family is considered to be at least an adult and a minor.

The number of families that were delivered increased to the highest levels since the start of the increase in Central American migration in 2013.

"We have seen a low historical figures this year, a decrease of almost 30 percent in apprehensions in (fiscal year 2017), "interim CBP commissioner Ron Vitiello said in a statement. "But we are very concerned about the increases in the last month of minors and unaccompanied minors with a family member."

Increasing ICE arrests

While fewer people crossed the border illegally, the federal government stepped up enforcement of the border law. As a result, the number of unauthorized immigrants arrested to be prosecuted for deportation increased sharply after Trump took office.

That increase is linked to its January executive order that expanded the immigration application and included plans to hire 10,000 more officers in Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the next four years

Since Trump's inauguration on 20 In January, arrests of unauthorized immigrants in the interior of the country increased by 40% compared to the same period of the previous year, according to ICE.

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ICE officers arrested 143,470 people during fiscal year 2017. They also deported 226,119 migrants, less than the previous year. ICE said that was due to fewer apprehensions from the Border Patrol.

ICE deputy director Thomas Homan said the figures reflected the Trump administration's empowerment of federal agents to enforce the country's laws.

"We need to confront and address wrong policies and gaps that only serves as a pull factor for illegal immigration," he said. "Finally, we need to find a solution to the dangerous policies of the sanctuary city and politicians who unnecessarily risk innocent lives to protect criminals who are illegally present in the United States."

Notably, the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record records more than doubled compared to the previous year, as the Trump administration expanded its compliance priorities.

In fiscal year 2017, ICE arrested 37,734 people who had never been convicted or formally charged with any crime. In 2016, the number of non-criminal arrests was half, at 15,500.

Follow Rafael Carranza on Twitter: @RafaelCarranza

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