The United States Border Patrol issued a warning from its chief on Tuesday, alerting the public of a "dangerous new trend" employed by illegal immigrants crossing into America from Mexico.
What are the details?
USBP tweeted a message from Chief Carla Provost, saying, "We are seeing a dangerous new trend — families and unaccompanied children are crossing in large groups ranging from 100 to nearly 350 people — 68 groups so far this year, compared to only 13 in all of last year, and two the year before."
.@USBPChief: We are seeing a dangerous new trend—families and unaccompanied children are crossing in large groups r… https://t.co/KaBWApbBCT— CBP (@CBP)1551195662.0
In the past, individuals apprehended were typically men from Mexico, but Reuters reported that groups comprised of Central American families and kids on their own now make up roughly 60 percent of the people caught crossing.
U.S. Border Patrol Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Roy Villareal told Fox News, "The situation at the border is unprecedented. We are being overwhelmed with migrants, principally family units and children, and then people that are from countries other than Mexico."
Villareal added that for the first time in the Border Patrol's history, the majority of the agency's arrests were "other-than-Mexican nationals."
According to human rights advocates, America's increased border security efforts and clamp-down on asylum requests have in part led groups to avoid ports of entry and attempt illegal crossings in more remote areas. Some have argued that traveling in large numbers is a safety measure, while others say the tactic is simply for "strength in numbers," putting border agents at greater risk.
Human smugglers are also profiting from the groups of asylum-seekers attempting to circumvent legal points of entry. Traffickers charge thousands per person to direct migrants to more porous areas of the border.
The Border Patrol's Yuma Sector spokesman Jose Garibay told USA Today, "They can just theoretically point at a section of wall, or...give them a ladder or a system over the border wall. They don't have to cross with them, they can just stay in Mexico where they know we can't go."
Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Kate Waldman addressed the issue, too, saying, "The bottom line is that we have a deeply flawed immigration system, smugglers and traffickers know the flaws well, and they seek to exploit these vulnerabilities in the law, as well as physical vulnerabilities to enter and remain in the country illegally."