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Number of children traveling alone at border slows in April, more adults try to enter country

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Posted at 7:55 PM, May 13, 2021

Border Patrol agents encountered more people trying to get into the U.S. illegally in April than in March, with adults without families making up the majority. The number of border encounters is the highest it's been in more than 20 years.

According to data from Customs and Border Patrol, they encountered 178,622 people along the country's southwest border in April, about 3% more than in March 2021, the previous all-time high.

The number of unaccompanied children traveling alone fell in April to just under 14,000. March 2021 was the busiest month on record when nearly 16,000 children were encountered alone at the border, according to CBP data.

The numbers during the pandemic are not exactly comparable to previous years since many people trying to cross the border are expelled from the country under federal pandemic-related rules. Many people try to cross multiple times since there are no legal consequences.

In their data, CBP also said the number of children in their care dropped from 4,109 in March to just 455 on May 11. The agency also says they are only holding kids for just over a day, on average.

Children traveling alone at the border are supposed to be processed by Border Patrol quickly and handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services for care and placement.

CBP says drug seizures were also up at the border in April, with seizures of heroin and fentanyl driving the increase.