Published: Sun, January 20, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Migrants Overwhelmed US Border In Yuma Sector During Week-Long Period

Migrants Overwhelmed US Border In Yuma Sector During Week-Long Period

Almost 250 migrants - mostly Central American migrants, including families and small children - were also detained by Border Patrol agents on Wednesday after surrendering at a Border Patrol outpost on the New Mexican border.

The smugglers tunneled seven holes under the steel border fence - each hole a few feet deep - which allowed the majority of the group to crawl beneath the barrier and into the country Monday, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"The United States Border Patrol is constantly building intelligence in order to combat these trafficking organizations that are constantly targeting them and gaining intelligence in order to apprehend them in the future", said Jose Garibay, Yuma Sector Border Patrol public information officer, according to CBS affiliate KSWT-TV. The majority of them surrender immediately or seek out Border Patrol agents to start the asylum process.

President Donald Trump's administration had tried to forbid migrants from requesting asylum after crossing the border illegally, but that move was struck down by a federal judge in November.

The largest single group of asylum-seekers to be taken into custody in the USA reportedly tunneled beneath a section of the border wall outside Yuma, Arizona.

"This is an ongoing situation that Border Patrol Agents face in southern New Mexico: hundreds of parents and children being encountered by agents after having faced a treacherous journey in the hands of unsafe smugglers", the Border Patrol said.

'The only reason they're trying to say that they're family units is that they know if they're a family unit, they're going to be released within 20 days, ' Porvaznik said.

The asylum seekers were separated into cells: fathers with sons, fathers with daughters, unaccompanied minors and mothers with children. There were 176 children in the group. "As I mentioned, 87 percent of the apprehensions here are family units and unaccompanied alien children".

CBP Yuma Border Sector Chief Anthony Porvaznik told ABC that the issue of families crossing the border is becoming a humanitarian problem that his unit is not equipped to handle. Stretched thin, CBP has only three agents patrolling the 26-mile section of border.

US authorities say 115 migrants smuggled to a border crossing in New Mexico are the second large group of Central Americans encountered by agents at the remote port of entry in as many days.

The crossing comes amid a political showdown in Washington, D.C., where President Trump has been sparring with Congressional Democrats over funding for the border wall, leaving the government closed for 28 days now.

Saturday marks the 29th day of the longest government shutdown in history.

Patrols at the US-Mexico border have caught a record number of illegal immigrants who crossed through multiple tunnels under the steel border fence near San Luis, Arizona.

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