January saw a surprising surge of 22,000 more apprehensions of illegal immigrants at southwest border crossings over January 2018, prompting a key predictor to suggest that border officers will make over 600,000 apprehensions this year.

The year-over-year increase was 84 percent, from 25,975 in January 2018 to 47,893 last January, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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Chart from Princeton Policy Advisers.

According to Princeton Policy Advisors, which studies immigration data and makes predictions on future potential border crossings, the surprise January surge showed that the so-called “Trump effect” of slowing attempted crossings evaporated.

What’s more, said Princeton’s Steven Kopits, the surge suggests that more illegal immigrants than expected could be heading to the border this year.

“The January numbers don't yet warrant an upward revision in our forecast of 606,000 apprehensions in 2019. But we are on notice. Buckle your seat belts: 2019 could be a wild ride at the southwest border,” he said.

Kopits, who has drawn up a white paper that uses a “market-based” plan to solve the illegal immigration issue, told Secrets, “Customs and Border Patrol has issued stunning January numbers for the U.S. southwest border. CBP reported 47,893 apprehensions, an increase of nearly 22,000 (+84 percent) over last year (which was not depressed by Trump effect which prevailed in 2017).”

He added, “More impressively, January apprehensions were up 12,000 (+33 percent) on our November forecast.”