U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released its March Southwest Border Migration statistics.
CBP records show that encounters of family units and unaccompanied children along the Southwest border rose this month to numbers not seen since 2014.
CBP Deputy Commissioner Robert E. Perez addressed the situation. “We are currently experiencing a system-wide emergency in our processing and holding facilities. The humanitarian crisis created by a massive influx of family groups and unaccompanied children in recent months has forced CBP to reallocate resources away from law enforcement, trade and travel missions to process and provide care for those in our custody,” said Perez. “The impacts to legitimate trade and travel cannot be overstated. As this crisis continues to worsen, it undermines CBP’s ability to perform its dual mission of protecting our borders and facilitating legitimate trade and travel.”
In Fiscal Year 2019 to date, the U.S. Border Patrol has seen a more than 370% increase in the number of family units apprehended compared to the same time period in FY2018. Today, 60% of apprehensions along the Southwest border are family units and unaccompanied children, made up predominantly of individuals from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Additionally, through the first six months of FY19, CBP has encountered 104 large groups composed of 100 or more individuals totaling 17,242 apprehensions. In comparison, U.S. Border Patrol encountered 13 large groups in FY2018 and two FY2017.
CBP has expanded contract medical support in major “high-risk” locations at and between ports of entry along the Southwest border where large numbers of family units and unaccompanied children have been encountered. This contracted medical support includes medical assessments by certified medical professionals (usually registered nurses and family nurse practitioners) and translation services.
Increased delays to arriving pedestrians, passenger vehicles and commercial trucks have already been experienced across the Southwest border and are expected to continue. Ports of entry in California and Arizona have closed some commercial lanes. CBP is attempting to mitigate these impacts, but those who cross the Southwest border should expect these delays to worsen as more resources are devoted to the humanitarian crisis.