Deaths on the Mexico-U.S. border have declined in the first two years of the Trump administration, according to Official data
Acting Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan testified on Capitol Hill that a 51-year-old man bought a 6-month-old baby for $80 in Guatemala to pose as a family unit to get into the United States. Democrat members of Congress persisted in strengthening the narrative that the Trump Administration is intent on separating families, but were reminded they have done nothing to help.
McAleenan was speaking Thursday before the House Oversight Committee investigating border problems. His testimony comes amid a growing outcry over the treatment of migrants at the border, an internal investigation into Border Patrol agents who posted crude and mocking posts in a secret Facebook group and the move this week to effectively end asylum on the U.S.-Mexico border .
A top Trump administration official said Thursday the number of family separations at the border has fallen since last summer’s zero tolerance policy, and they are done only for compelling reasons. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said fewer than 1,000 children have been separated from families out of 450,000 family groups that have crossed the border since October.
He said they are separated because of health and safety concerns, among other reasons. “The vast majority” of families are kept together, he said. That tally does not include children who come with older siblings, or aunts and uncles and grandparents and are separated under longstanding policy meant to guard against human trafficking.
McAleenan said Congress would need to amend laws to allow border officers more discretion in order to keep those groups together.
But while politicians and Presidential hopefuls expressed their outrage and pointed fingers at the Trump administration, official data indicates that Mexico-U.S. border deaths have actually declined in the first two years of the current administration.
According to statistics compiled by the United States Border Patrol, there were 298 border deaths in 2017 and 283 in 2018, making it an average of 291 per year. The average yearly deaths under President Obama stood at 372 and 382 under the Bush administration.