Border apprehensions: A look at 20 years of data

Published on June 5th 2019

UPDATE: Apprehensions at the Southwest border dropped 29% from 132,880 in May 2019 to 94.897 in June 2019.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection data released Wednesday shows that 132,887 people were apprehended at the Southwest border crossing in May, up 33.8% from April.

May apprehensions were the highest monthly total since 2006, when 160,696 people were apprehended. However, May border apprehensions did not exceed historic levels. The highest recorded monthly apprehension volume was in March 2000, when over 220,000 people were apprehended at the Southwest border.

Monthly border apprehensions, 1999-2019

While border apprehensions have not yet exceeded historic levels, the type of person apprehended is shifting. According to a 2016 CBP report, “the characteristics of illegal migration across our southern border have changed significantly over the last 15 years - far fewer Mexican nationals and single adults are attempting to cross the border without authorization, while far more families and unaccompanied children are fleeing poverty and violence in Central America.”

Because of this, the United States is dealing with a growing list of asylum seekers, largely from the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Explore our data:

Border apprehensions