Policy Options for Responding to Changing Migration Flows at the Southwest Border
Testimony of Andrew Selee, President of MPI, before Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on April 4, 2019 regarding response to changing migration flows at the Southwest border.
"Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member Peters, and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. My name is Andrew Selee and I am the president of the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan, independent research institution focused on practical and effective policy options for managing immigration in the United States and around the world.
We have always had migration across our shared border with Mexico, and most of it has always been legal and part of the normal economic exchange that takes place between our two countries. Illegal immigration flows from Mexico, which were once so significant, have been dropping dramatically since 2008 and are now only a fraction of what they used to be. In the meantime, we have seen a rise in Central American unauthorized crossings since 2012 and most notably since 2014, but the long-term decline of Mexican unauthorized flows has meant that —until recently — the overall numbers crossing the Southwest border illegally were still at historically low levels.
However, over the past few months, we have seen a significant rise in the number of apprehensions at the Southwest border, mostly of Guatemalan and Honduran nationals, which are unlike anything seen in the past decade. Overall, apprehensions are still below prior peaks in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but have steeply increased in only a few months to levels not seen in years. There were 66,450 Southwest border apprehensions in February — the highest monthly total in the past nine years — and they are expected to reach nearly 100,000 in March. [...]"