U.S. President Donald Trump declares a national emergency to build his promised border wall during a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on Feb. 15, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

America’s southern border by the numbers

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday to circumvent Congress and secure $8 billion for barriers on the southern border.
Through presidential addresses and press conferences, Trump has given a host of reasons for his crackdown on the border, often centering on controlling the flow of illegal immigrants, drugs and gang members.
“We have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people, and it’s unacceptable,” Trump said from the Rose Garden on Friday.
The Boston Herald took a look at the numbers:
At the border
* U.S. Border Patrol reported 396,579 people were apprehended at the Southwest border in fiscal 2018, down from a recent peak of 1.6 million in 2000.
* Since Oct. 1, the start of fiscal 2019, there have been 201,497 apprehensions. Family unit apprehensions have jumped 290 percent so far this fiscal year, up to 99,901 from 25,625 in the same time period last year. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said earlier this month statistics show a “sustained, high volume of families and unaccompanied children from Central America” attempting to cross the Southwest border.
* However, the number of people overstaying their visas appears higher than the number of southern border apprehensions. The Department of Homeland Security reported 606,926 suspected in-country overstays in fiscal 2017.
* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 70,237 drug overdose deaths in 2017, of which nearly 68 percent — or 47,600 — involved opioids. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, accounted for 28,466 drug overdose deaths in 2017, up sharply from 19,413 in 2016. The number of heroin overdose deaths was 15,482 in 2017, showing little change from 2016.
* As of Aug. 31, U.S. Border Patrol agents had seized 332 pounds of fentanyl in fiscal 2018, nearly double the amount seized the year prior, along with 532 pounds of heroin; 6,423 pounds of cocaine; 10,382 pounds of methamphetamine; and 439,531 pounds of marijuana.
* There were 377 MS-13 gang members apprehended nationwide in fiscal 2018, as of Aug. 31. That was up from 228 the year prior, but down from 437 in fiscal 2014. Recent FBI estimates put MS-13 gang membership in the U.S. at about 10,000, but it’s not clear how many of them are citizens versus immigrants.
* Immigration and Customs Enforcement made 158,581 administrative arrests in fiscal 2018 for civil immigration violations, 66 percent of whom were convicted criminals, the agency said. Among the 256,086 illegal immigrants removed from the country, 57 percent were convicted criminals and nearly 6,000 were known or suspected gang members.

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