Border Patrol agents in El Paso, TX, apprehended more than 400 illegal immigrants in a span of five minutes early Tuesday morning.
The agents, working in Texas, apprehended the first group of 194 illegal immigrants around 2:45 a.m. near Bowie High School in El Paso. Five minutes later — at 2:50 a.m. — another group of agents apprehended a second group of 252 who had just crossed the border near Downtown El Paso, according to a press release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“In all, agents had already taken over 430 people into custody within the first three hours in what appears to be only the beginning of another busy day for the El Paso Sector Border Patrol,” the agency wrote.
The group was comprised mostly of Central American families and unaccompanied minors, which Border Patrol says is seen regularly. The agency also said that it has averaged 570 apprehensions a day for the past month – 90% of which occur in the El Paso Metropolitan Area.
“These numbers continue to stretch the resources available to the U.S. Border Patrol to deal with this influx and the challenges that come with it,” the agency wrote.
On Twitter, CBP provided two pictures of the apprehensions.
“#BorderPatrol agents apprehended 2 large groups within 5 minutes of one another in El Paso Sector early this morning. The groups totaled 430 individuals—mostly Central American families and unaccompanied children,” the agency tweeted.
Earlier this month, CBP’s chief of operations, Brian Hastings, said at a press conference that the agency had apprehended 66,000 in the month of February. Further, he said there had been a staggering 268,000 apprehensions since October 2018, which he said was a 97% increase over the previous fiscal year.
“October 2018 marked the first time in our history that family units exceeded single adult apprehensions, and in February of 2019 family units and unaccompanied children accounted for 65% of all Border Patrol apprehensions,” he said.
In January, CBP Arizona released footage of more than 100 illegal immigrants attempting to climb the southern border in Yuma.
“On Monday #CBP #YumaSector Border Patrol agents apprehended a group of 110+ Central Americans who illegally scaled the wall with the assistance of a smuggler with a ladder,” CBP Arizona tweeted.
This video was released a week after border patrol agents in the Grand Canyon State turned themselves in after being discovered tunneling underneath the border wall. Many used the seven holes that were dug to travel under the fence, while some scaled the wall.
In all, 376 illegal immigrants were apprehended at that time – including 179 children. Thirty of those children were unaccompanied. ABC News reported at the time that 80% of total apprehensions are parents with children, most of whom turn themselves in and claim asylum.
Illegal crossings are reportedly down significantly since a peak in 2001, but the changes in demographics creates a host of new issues for border patrol and the United States, including clogging the asylum process with half-baked claims made after apprehension instead of using the appropriate asylum-seeking channels.