Although overall border crossings were down in 2017, the number of unaccompanied minors illegally entering the country spiked over the past two months as talk of a DACA deal heated up in Washington.
"We have seen some decreases overall but I would like to point out unfortunately we have a 30 percent increase in UACs (unaccompanied alien children) from October through December (2018) and we also had a 68 percent increase in family units during that same time period," DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said during testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning.
In other words, parents in foreign countries and living illegally in the United States sent their children for entry in an effort to take advantage of the coming amnesty. Given that DACA inevitably and by default provides protections for the parents of illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, it's no surprise the number of family units crossing in recent months have also significantly increased.
As Congress continues to debate a DACA fix, with Democrats threatening to shut down the government on Friday, Nielsen said the Department of Homeland Security isn't interested in a temporary solution.
"It is our position to find a permanent solution. We are not interested in addressing this piecemeal, through year-after-year renewals, through anything less than a permanent solution," Nielsen said.
Democrats have demanded Republicans cave on a "clean" DACA bill without any kind of border security attached. Republicans and the White House insist a DACA deal must include an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery Program and chain migration, in addition to a border wall.