‘At the breaking point’: Huge surge in illegal migrants crossing the southern border in large groups of more than 100 people overwhelms authorities

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
By Paul Martin

CBP reports that 70 groups larger than 100 people crossed since October
Smugglers bring groups to remote areas, where they cross and claim asylum
Nearly all bring children, knowing they will be quickly released inside the US
Officials say drug cartels use large groups to divert agents from their activity
CBP chief: ‘This is clearly both a border security and humanitarian crisis’

6 March 2019

Record-breaking numbers of large groups of people illegally crossing the southern border have strained Border Patrol to the breaking point, officials say.

At a press conference in Washington DC on Tuesday, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan appealed to lawmakers to address the growing crisis.

‘This situation is not sustainable,’ McAleenan said. ‘The system is well beyond capacity and remains at the breaking point.’

Officials revealed that 76,000 migrants crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally last month, more than double the number from the same period last year.

Since October, 70 groups of more than 100 people have crossed, often in extremely remote areas where they immediately surrender and claim asylum. Last year, there were only 13 such groups, and only two the year before.

Officials say the massive groups crossing in unison strain border patrol resources and are intentionally used as a ‘diversionary tactic’ by drug smugglers.

‘Drug trafficking organizations are utilizing these groups as cover and diversion to divert our agents away,’ said Border Patrol Chief of Operations Brian Hastings, citing at least four specific instances when traffickers moved drugs into the U.S. as agents struggled to process a large group elsewhere.

Hastings said that ’99 per cent’ of the large groups were family units from the Northern Triangle countries: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

‘The word of mouth and social media quickly gets back to those Northern Triangle countries, that if you bring a child you’ll be successful,’ Hastings said.

‘It’s well known at this time that adults with children will not be detained during the immigration proceedings for illegal entry,’ he added.

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