Such crossings actually increased in April, compared with March and the previous three Aprils.
WHAT WAS SAID
“We’re down 40 percent from those other standards — so that’s really good — meaning 40 percent crossings.”
— President Trump, during a discussion on Wednesday about so-called sanctuary cities
The latest data from Customs and Border Protection shows that illegal border crossings — which are usually measured as apprehensions on the southern border — actually increased during the last few months.
The agency recorded 38,234 apprehensions on the southern border in April. That’s a 2 percent increase from March, and three times the number of crossings recorded in April 2017. (Experts typically recommend looking at year-to-year changes because border crossings fluctuate by season.)
The latest April figures are marginally higher than, but roughly the same as, the number of crossings in April 2016, and about 30 percent higher than the number recorded in April 2015.
When Mr. Trump has made various claims about a decline in illegal border crossings in the past, he has tended to selectively choose points of time that showed the most drastic drops. His claim on Wednesday about a 40 percent decline was no different.
Border crossings did decline by 26 percent from the 2016 fiscal year to the 2017 fiscal year, and by 43 percent from the 2016 calendar year to the 2017 calendar year. Those figures, however, do not represent the current state of border crossings.
The New York Times reported last week that Mr. Trump had berated Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, for what he saw as a failure to adequately protect the border.
By Linda Qiu