The arrests of unaccompanied minors and children traveling with only one parent or guardian skyrocketed in March and approached levels not seen since the Obama Administration in 2013 and 2014.
The number of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) apprehended between ports of entry along the southwest border with Mexico jumped from 3,134 in February to 4,171 in March, an increase of 33 percent. The number of Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) arrested along the southwest border jumped from 5,475 to 8,882, an increase of 62 percent. In March 2013, agents apprehended 4,120 UACs and 1,310 FMUAs. Those numbers increased in 2014 to 7,176 UACs and 5,752 FMUAs being apprehended.
“The crisis at our Southwest border is real,” Department of Homeland Security Press Secretary Tyler Q. Houlton said in a written staement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “The number of illegal border crossings during the month of March shows an urgent need to address the ongoing situation at the border. We saw a 203 percent increase from March 2017 compared to March 2018 and a 37 percent increase from last month to this month – the largest increase from month to month since 2011.”
Breitbart Texas Editor-in-Chief Brandon Darby shocked many in June 2014 when he published leaked images of unaccompanied minors warehoused in the RGV Sector in overcrowded conditions. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of UACs and FMUAs have crossed the border illegally into South Texas.
Border Patrol officials define FMUA as the number of people apprehended at the border (either a child under 18 years old, parent, or legal guardian) apprehended with a family member.
Combining UAC and FMUA apprehension numbers shows a total of 13,053 minors or people traveling with minors who were arrested along the Mexican border in March. This compares with 5,430 in March 2013 and 12,928 in March 2014.
The Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) consistently leads the nation in the apprehension of unaccompanied minors and families.
In March 2017, those apprehensions jumped by 40 percent compared to the previous month. Agents arrested 1,935 UACs in March 2017. In February, agents arrested 1,387 UACs. These numbers compare to 2,206 UACs arrested in the RGV Sector in March 2013 and 5,215 in March 2014.
Agents apprehended 5,293 FMUAs in the RGV Sector in March 2017. This is up by 64 percent from February’s 3,222. In March 2013, agents only arrested 484 FMUAs. In March 2014, that number rose to 4,306.
In total, the RGV Sector arrested 7,228 minors or people traveling with minors. In March 2013, agents arrested 2,690 minors or people traveling with minors and in March 2014, that number increased to 9,521.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera (in his capacity as vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307) described the impact of this surge of unaccompanied minors and families on border security.
“We have the buildings to handle the influx of these people,” Cabrera explained, “but we don’t have the manpower. The influx is causing agents to be taken off the front line to assist with processing the families and unaccompanied minors. This leads to gaps in security and not enough agents to back each other up in the field.”
During the first six months of this fiscal year (which began on October 1, 2017), the March CBP Southwest Border Migration Report indicates that Border Patrol agents apprehended nearly 175,000 illegal immigrants. Of those, agents arrested more than 21,000 UACs and nearly 40,000 FMUAs.
“Illegal aliens continue to exploit our immigration laws,” DHS Press Secretary Houlton said. “We need to close these dangerous loopholes that are being taken advantage of each and every day, gain operational control of the border, and fully fund the border wall system. As the President has repeatedly said, all options are on the table.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, GAB, and Facebook.
(Disclosure: Breitbart Texas sponsored the Green Line podcast for the NBPC in an effort to provide a platform for agents to inform the public about the realities on the border and what Border Patrol agents face. Director Brandon Darby received an award from the Laredo chapter of the NBPC for his work in helping to defend and bring a voice to Border Patrol agents. Breitbart News assisted in covering funeral costs for a slain Border Patrol agent previously.)
Charts courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
This article has been updated to include a statement from DHS Press Secretary Tyler Q. Houlton.