By Ron Nixon

New York Times News Service

Court cases — U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who is overseeing the reunification of migrant families separated at the U.S. border, is keeping in place his order temporarily barring the Trump administration from deporting parents and children. At a hearing Wednesday in San Diego, he said he will issue a written ruling later on separate requests by lawyers representing the children to let them file asylum claims and attorneys for the parents to pause deportation proceedings long enough to let the adults review their legal options. Sabraw initially halted deportations July 16 after he’d ordered the government to return more than 2,500 children taken from their parents. Also Wednesday, Andrew Hanen, the district judge in Texas overseeing a case on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, deferred ruling on legal protections for thousands of young immigrants until Monday at least.

— From wire reports

WASHINGTON — U.S. immigration officials arrested 2,885 fewer people at the Southwest border last month than in June, the second month in a row the number of migrants trying to enter the United States has dropped.

Data released Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security show that authorities apprehended 39,953 people at the U.S. border with Mexico in July. The number of arrests in June totaled 42,838.

A senior Homeland Security official attributed the decrease in apprehensions in part to the Trump administration’s stepped-up immigration policies at the border. But the official agreed with advocates and experts that the numbers also reflect seasonal flows of border crossings; individuals are more likely to travel in milder weather than during the often dangerous heat of summer.

An estimated 4,357 unaccompanied children showed up at the border in July, the data show, compared to 5,562 in a month earlier. Meanwhile, 12,285 people traveling in family groups were denied entry to the United States last month, compared to 12,386 family members in June.

The two consecutive months of fewer migrants followed a flood of people in the spring who illegally crossed the Southwest border into the U.S. More than 50,000 migrants were arrested after entering the country from Mexico each month from March to May.

But in 2017, illegal border crossings dropped to a more than 40-year low, a decrease largely attributed to Trump’s election. The springtime rise in people attempting to enter the United States was a source of frustration for the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

Tony Payan, director of the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, said he expects the number of migrants to rise as weather conditions improve.

“These are people fleeing harsh economic conditions and violence,” Payan said. “They are going to keep coming no matter what the enforcement policies are at the border.”

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