Border Patrol Officials Warn of Crisis as 40,000 Migrant Parents and Children Are Detained in February

EL PASO -- More than 40,000 parents and children -- mostly from Guatemala -- were detained at the U.S. border in February, straining U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s ability to care for immigrant families even as migrants are being apprehended in the highest numbers in more than a decade.The border patrol said Tuesday that February was the busiest month since 2007 for apprehensions at the southwest border, where 76,103 migrants were detained in the month. That’s up from 58,207 in January -- a more than 30 percent increase.This year is on track to be one of the busiest in overall migration in a decade, with numbers likely to increase even more as warm weather arrives along with rising job demand, according to statistics released by CBP.“It should be very clear from these numbers that we ’re facing alarming trends and a rising volume of people illegally crossing our southwest border, or arriving at our ports of entry without documents,” CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said during a Tuesday news conference in Washington. “The system is well beyond capacity and remains at the breaking point.”Pushed away from ports of entry because of new restrictions such as Trump’s metering system that requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while U.S. officials slowly process their cases, migrant families are arriving in larger groups, from the dozens to the hundreds, in rugged, remote areas on the edge of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.Since October when the new fiscal year began, at least 70 groups of 100 or more people have turned themselves in at border patrol facilities. By comparison, only 13 such groups arrived in the last fiscal year, and two in the year before.Remote facilities, mostly hours away from cities, are unprepared to receive families. When the units were originally designed in the 1980s and 1990s, they were designed to hold mostly single Mexican men who were typically deported within hours.“Regardless of anyone preferred policy outcome, the status quo is unacceptable,” McAleenan said. “It presents an urgent and increasing crisis that needs to be addressed.”  Continue reading...

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