The new surge of illegal immigration at the southern border is being driven by the U.S. election and the related debate over whether to ease or tighten immigration laws, according to representatives of border agents and border-state sheriffs. The last few months have seen a dramatic rise in apprehensions of illegal immigrants, on a scale that rivals 2014, when members of both parties agreed it became a humanitarian crisis. That crisis abated in 2015, but the numbers have spiked again, and federal officials have mostly been silent on why. According to border officials, the election is a major factor. They say Donald Trump's threat to build a wall and shut down all illegal immigration is creating an incentive for people to make it to the U.S. before Trump takes over. But they also say the possibility of Hillary Clinton winning creates its own incentive, since many perceive or hope that she might create an amnesty program for illegal immigrants, and hope to be in the U.S. already when that happens.