No one knows how many people cross the border illegally. We have a figure for "apprehensions," meaning people who were caught or handed themselves in. To a large extent, we have catch-and-release at the border. People turn themselves in, say they want asylum, and are given a court date and released. According to senate testimony from Homeland Secretary Nielsen, over 90% don't show up for the court date.
The number of apprehensions has dropped from the peak in the early 2000s, but is that because fewer cross the border illegally or because a smaller percentage are turning themselves in?
Record number of migrant families arrested while crossing U.S. border in December 2018
A busy December set another record for the number of migrant parents and children taken into custody, as U.S. border agents arrested 27,518 members of “family units,” according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics released Wednesday.
Overall, authorities detained 60,782 migrants attempting to enter the United States without authorization. It marked the third consecutive month that the figure — the most widely used barometer of border trends — topped 60,000, remaining near the highest levels of the Trump presidency.
60,782 apprehensions in a month is 730k a year. 730k a year may be down from the peak in the early 2000s, but is still a flood.
The number of families and children being apprehended is at record levels. Is that because they're coming in before the border is sealed or because they expect an amnesty?
Because of an Obama-era policy, illegals think, with good reason, that if they bring their kids across the border with them they will receive more lenient treatment.