The number of unaccompanied children crossing into the United States illegally over the Southwest border continued to decline in August, according to figures released Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security.
More than 3,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended last month, a 45% decline from the 5,500 children who crossed in July, the department said. In June, the number of children crossing illegally was 10,600, mostly originating from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest declared the border crisis over “for now.” Earnest said there are a “variety of factors” that could be contributing to the decline, including weather. The number of migrants typically goes down when the weather gets hotter.
But Earnest described the situation as “volatile” and said the Obama administration remains focused on securing the border and devoting resources to immigration courts.
Since the start of fiscal year 2014, the United States has apprehended more than 66,000 unaccompanied minors, nearly twice the number of the previous year.
The Obama administration declared the surge a humanitarian crisis and called on Congress to pass a $3.7-billion spending bill to provide emergency funds for government agencies to cope with the influx of child migrants. However, members of Congress were unable to come to an agreement before leaving for the August recess.