US arrested nearly 1 million migrants at border in past 12 months

Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan speaks during a briefing at the White House Tuesday Oct. 8 2019 in Washington

Speaking at a press briefing at the White House, Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan said the agency faced "unprecedented and staggering" levels of illegal crossings for the year.

USA border officials apprehended or turned away approximately 52,000 migrants last month - a more than 60% decline from the 13-year monthly high in May, when more than 133,000 migrants were arrested along southern border. "The total number of law enforcement actions last month was just over 52,000 [apprehensions], down nearly 65 percent from the peak in May of 144,000 [apprehensions]".

"This represents the fourth month in a row of a steady decline in apprehensions", Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters.

Noting that vulnerable cases should be excluded from the Remain in Mexico policy, Castro said that "by law, these migrants are supposed to be exempt from the Remain in Mexico policy-but [Customs and Border Protection] had chose to ignore their due process".

Morgan pointed to agreements with other countries such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which involves sending migrants back to Mexico to await their hearings. Many of them report they've been threatened and assaulted while they've been forced to wait in the Mexican border city of Matamoros.

Castro argued they should not fall under the MPP. "We're closing the loopholes and diminishing the smuggling organizations' ability to profit on the back of these migrants, while simultaneously exploiting our system".

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President Trump's administration implemented the "Remain in Mexico" policy at the beginning of 2019.

Castro called MPP disastrous not just because of the humanitarian crisis aspect but also because it flies in the face of traditional USA policy toward migrants.

"We need to change this policy", he said.

While the move by Castro was ultimately unsuccessful, he did shed light on the illegalities that immigration officials are conducting at the border.

Morgan said 71 miles of new barrier had been built and predicted that a total of 450 miles would be completed by the end of 2020.

For most that meant being processed by immigration officials and then released to await a hearing on their asylum claim, but they usually disappeared into the United States interior hoping to settle. "The president has simply listened to them and he's delivering his promise".

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