U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said Tuesday that the number of undocumented immigrant children and family units arriving on the southwest border is similar to a pattern officials dubbed a “surge” in 2014.
“Typically, we see seasonal increases in March, April and May,” McAleenan said during a news conference in Washington D.C., adding that the pattern this year is similar to 2014. “So we’re very concerned that we are going to see numbers rise in March to April to May.”
Statistics released by CBP Tuesday show that in February alone CBP apprehended 76,103 people along the southwest border. Since Jan. 1, CBP has apprehended a total of 134,398 undocumented immigrants.
In 2014, the “surge” year, CBP apprehended 42,399 undocumented immigrants in February and when January is included the total number of undocumented immigrants apprehended by CBP for the first two months of 2018 stood at 77,580.
However, unlike historical crossings comprised of single adult males from Mexico, McAleenan said the numbers of family units and children arriving at the southwest border from Central America is increasing, amounting to 60 percent of all apprehensions.
For the first two months of 2019, Border Patrol has apprehended 11,944 undocumented children and 60,363 family units. At ports of entry, CBP has deemed 832 undocumented children were inadmissible, as well as 8,422 family units for the first two months in 2019.
“We are currently facing a humanitarian and national security crisis along our southwest border,” McAleenan said. “The vast increases in families and children coming across our border, in larger groups and in more remote areas, presents a unique challenge to our operations and facilities, and those of our partners, including the NGOs who work to assist these individuals and families throughout their immigration proceedings.”
The Rio Grande Valley has seen the highest numbers of undocumented children and family units arriving in the country illegally or being deemed inadmissible at ports of entries.
For the first two months of 2019, CBP has apprehended 5,090 undocumented children and 24,390 family units in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.