More non-Mexicans than Mexicans were apprehended on the U.S.-Mexico border by the Border Patrol in 2014, the first time on record, according to a study released Tuesday.
About 229,000 Mexicans and 257,000 non-Mexicans were apprehended for unauthorized immigration this year, according to a Pew Research report analyzing Border Patrol data. This year’s data is a reversal from previous years when Mexican apprehensions far outnumbered those of non-Mexicans, such as in 2007, when Mexican apprehensions totaled 809,000, compared with only 68,000 non-Mexicans.
The rise in non-Mexican apprehensions is due to a surge in the number of child migrants from Central America, the study said, an issue that has led to policy initiatives in the U.S. and deep concerns from Pope Francis. In 2014, roughly 52,000 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were apprehended at the border, over twice the number from the previous year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Central American officials have blamed the crisis on several factors, including a lack of economic opportunity, drug cartels and gang violence.