President Donald Trump’s efforts to halt migrant caravans and limit asylum have not deterred Central American minors and members of their families from rushing toward the U.S., according to data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday.
Border Patrol agents apprehended 27,518 members of family units in December, the highest monthly total on record. That figure has steadily been climbing now for five months, even as Trump made stopping migrant caravans the centerpiece of his midterm election strategy and drove Washington into a partial government shutdown over funding for his border wall.
Those caravan members, most of whom have been trying to exercise their legal right to request asylum in the U.S., contributed to a third straight month of more than 60,000 migrants being detained at U.S. ports of entry and arrested in the vast stretches of border in between.
The Trump administration points to those numbers as proof that the situation along the southern border is at “crisis” levels that requires the expansion of the border wall. Trump used a national TV address from the Oval Office on Tuesday night to make that case.