The Department of Homeland Security says more than 50,000 people were arrested attempting to cross the southern border illegally last month. The new numbers come as the Trump administration is trying to enforce a crackdown on illegal immigration, NPR reports. DHS Press Secretary Tyler Houlton said, “The number of apprehended illegal border crossers increased slightly from the previous month and climbed by 160 percent in May 2018 in comparison to May 2017.” Some 6,405 unaccompanied children crossed the border in May, compared with 4,302 in April.
In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a zero tolerance policy and promised to prosecute everyone attempting to enter the country illegally. In May, Sessions underscored that threat by promising to separate children from their parents as a deterrent to illegal immigration. “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border,” he said. The growing numbers of border arrests call into question whether the administration’s crackdown is working. “No one expects to reverse years of political inaction overnight or in a month,” said DHS’s Houlton.