Number of large groups illegally crossing border up 300%

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection says that the number of so-called "family units" and unaccompanied children from Central American crossing the border illegally increased dramatically in January compared to a year ago.

The agency released January border enforcement statistics showing a sustained, high volume of those groups are attempting to cross the Southwest border.

Large groups of 100 or more people, many of which are families from Central America, are increasingly crossing the border illegally in remote areas, according to the statistics.

Border patrol agents reported encountering 58 large groups in January compared to 13 during the same period in 2018.

"Family units and unaccompanied children from Central America are crossing the border illegally in greater numbers and in larger groups than ever before, straining our law enforcement resources," said Brian Hastings, U.S. Border Patrol Chief of Operations. "These trends are very concerning and demonstrate the reality of the ongoing humanitarian and border security crisis."

Apprehensions of people in "family units" are up 290 percent compared to the same period last year.  Just short of 100,000 people in those groups were detained in January 2019 compared to 25,625 last year.