National Security

Arrests of Immigrant Children, Families at Mexico Border Jump 52 Percent

Immigrants journey toward U.S.-Mexico border
Immigrants journey toward U.S.-Mexico border / AP

Arrests of unaccompanied immigrant children and families made by the U.S. Border Patrol at the southern border with Mexico in August increased 52 percent over the same month in 2014, a fact that the White House labeled "concerning."

According to statistics published Monday, the patrol apprehended 10,000 unaccompanied immigrant children and families last month.

The Associated Press reported:

Since the start of the fiscal year in October, border agents have arrested more than 35,000 children traveling alone and more than 34,500 people traveling as families, mostly mothers and children. The total number of arrests for the year is down nearly 50 percent compared with a year ago, but border agents have reported a jump in arrests since July. The Border Patrol reported arresting 6,424 unaccompanied immigrant children and families in August 2014, compared to 9,790 this year.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that the administration is surprised by the increase in immigrants attempting to cross the border.

"We have seen, just in the last month, in the month of August, a surprising uptick," Earnest said.

The Obama administration spokesman regarded the figures as particularly "concerning" because the August heat typically produces a decline in the number of unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the southern border. Earnest said it remains unclear what caused the spike.

"This is something that we take very seriously," Earnest alleged. "It’s something that the administration has been quite vigilant about over the last year and a half, and it's something that we’re going to closely monitor in the months ahead."

The increase in young immigrants comes one year after border officials were overwhelmed by upwards of 68,000 unaccompanied children flooding to the U.S. border with Mexico.

In 2012, President Obama issued an executive order that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants who entered the country as children meeting specific requirements.