NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency warns that there is a growing crisis at the Southwest border with a 300 percent increase in large family units apprehended in the region in the past year.
What the agency calls "Family Unit Aliens" has reached record numbers. It says that family units and unaccompanied alien children make up 60 percent of apprehensions that have occurred along the southwest border. The people in those groups are mostly from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
There have been 70 large groups of 100 or more individuals totaling 12,069 apprehensions, according to statistics released Tuesday. That compares to 13 large groups the previous year and only two in the year before that.
"We are currently facing a humanitarian and national security crisis along our southwest border. 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," said CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan.
The Border Patrol agency has implemented a directive to increase medical support for migrants while in custody with an emphasis on treatment for juvenile detainees.
The agency says it will also expand contracted medical support in major "high-risk" locations at and between ports of entry along the border.