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The total number of people apprehended for illegally crossing the southern U.S. border has been steadily falling for almost two decades. It's a long-term trend that sociologists, economists and federal officials have been tracking for years.

Updated at 5:09 p.m. ET

In the image, a little girl wails in uncomprehending sadness and anxiety.

Her face flushed nearly as pink as her shirt and shoes, she stares up at her mother and a U.S. official, both too tall to be seen. The 2-year-old Honduran child's panic is so palpable, it's difficult for a viewer not to feel it, too.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

After days of damaging news stories about an administration policy that separated immigrant families at the Southern border, President Trump tried to change the narrative Friday. He spoke up for grieving family members who have lost loved ones at the hands of people in the country illegally.

The fear of family separation is not new for many immigrants already living in the U.S. In fact, that fear, heightened in recent weeks, has been forcing a tough decision for some families. Advocates say a growing number of American children are dropping out of Medicaid and other government programs because their parents are undocumented.

Marlene is an undocumented resident of Texas and has two children who are U.S. citizens. (NPR is not using Marlene's last name because of her immigration status.) One of her kids has some disabilities.

It's the summer driving season, when millions of Americans take road trips to the beach, big cities, national parks and beyond.

And what goes along with an increase in road trips? A hike in gas prices.

Indeed, historically summer is the time of year gas prices go up because more people are on the road, increasing demand. Oil refineries also introduce special fuel blends during the summer, which emit fewer emissions than winter blends but are more expensive to produce.

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