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Number of families illegally entering the U.S. at southern border hits record

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Data confirms sharp surge in just five months

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The number of illegal immigrant families entering the United States through the U.S.-Mexico border has hit another record, according to numbers released on Tuesday.

What are the details?

The Wall Street Journal reported that the number of migrants traveling in family units has been rising since 2015. But there has been a noticeable spike in such apprehensions in recent months — with a record-breaking 136,150 people caught by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in just the first five months of the fiscal year (October through February).

The prior record was set last year, with 107,212 people traveling in families apprehended over a full 12-month period ending in September.

Not only does that mean the annual record has been surpassed less than half-way through the 2019 fiscal year, The Journal reports that at the current rate, the "number of families arrested at the border could double or even triple the record by September."

During a news conference, U.S. Border Patrol Chief of Operations Brian Hastings said the agency has seen a total of more than 268,000 apprehensions thus far, which is a 98 percent increase compared to the same time period last fiscal year, which saw 136,209.



The Border Patrol also announced that "February 2019 had the highest number of encounters of any February in the last 12 years with more than 76,000 total apprehensions and inadmissible arrivals."


USA Today reported that in the El Paso sector alone — which includes all of New Mexico and some western counties in Texas — apprehensions were up 434 percent from the year before.

In announcing the numbers, CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters, "The system is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point," The New York Times reported.

McAleenan went on to say, "this situation is not sustainable. This is clearly both a border security and a humanitarian crisis."

Anything else?

Prior to the latest reports officials were already sounding the alarm over a markedly sharp increase in families crossing America's border with Mexico. Last week, Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost called the spike in large groups, including families and unaccompanied children, "a dangerous new trend."


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