US border family arrests maintain record-high streak

US border family arrests maintain record-high streak
A U.S. Border Patrol agent pats down Honduran migrants after they crossed onto U.S territory from Tijuana, Mexico, on Friday. AP)
Washington, Dec 7 (IANS) | Publish Date: 12/7/2018 11:32:51 AM IST

Apprehensions of migrant family members who illegally crossed the southern border into the US broke another record in November, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics.

This is the third month in a row that family apprehensions have set a record, the data issued on Thursday rvealed.

Overall arrests, however, remained relatively stagnant from October, ticking slightly up from 51,001 to 51,856, and came nowhere close to setting a record. In the early to mid-2000s, there were months when well over 100,000 migrants were apprehended illegally crossing the southern border.

What has changed is the demographics of the undocumented migrants coming over the Mexico-US border.

The US is “continuing to see family groups percentage-wise continue to rise”, said a CBP official in Texas. 

The official said the uptick in families has been “really stretching resources”, everything from transportation to processing to medical care.

The official added that while the families and minors are not necessarily a threat, genuine threats can slip by amid the “humanitarian mission”.

The number of family members arrested by the US Border Patrol rose around 9 per cent month to month, from 23,115 in October to 25,172 last month. 

However, the November 2018 figure was up more than 200 per cent from the 7,016 family member apprehensions in November 2017.

Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, called the November numbers “predictable” and blamed a “broken immigration system”, CNN reported. 

Thousands of Central American migrants have been waiting at the Mexican border city of Tijuana as part of the caravan for their turn to enter the US and seek asylum. 

The issue gained national attention over the Thanksgiving weekend when some migrants attempted to rush the port of entry into California.

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