By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - Apprehensions of undocumented migrants along the U.S. southwestern border fell slightly in March as nations struggle to fight the coronavirus, according to data the Department of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) released Thursday.
Apprehensions dropped from 30,074 in February to 29,953 in March. More broadly, all Border Patrol encounters fell 7% with 80% of individuals with whom officers are encountering being returned to the country they came from within two hours.
The U.S. closed its southern and northern borders to all non-essential migration following bilateral agreements with Mexico and Canada meant to slow the transmission of the coronavirus in all three nations.
In the time since the measures were implemented March 21, vehicle traffic dropped 72% while pedestrian crossings have fallen 83%, according to CBP. It further said the number of people it has in custody along the southwest border has fallen by roughly 140% since the actions were adopted.
That represents a 95% decrease from the average of 3,000 people in custody.
The U.S. is the country with the most coronavirus infections worldwide with data from Johns Hopkins University indicating 432,579 people have tested positive.