U.S. Customs and Border Protection released statistics on Southwest Border apprehensions for fiscal year 2019 that demonstrate a new and growing challenge on the Southwest Border.
Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) are crossing our borders in record numbers. This fiscal year to date, CBP has seen a more than 300 percent increase in the number of family units apprehended compared to the same time period in fiscal year 2018. Today, family units and unaccompanied alien children (UAC) make up 60 percent of apprehension that have occurred along the southwest border and are predominantly from Central America, namely Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Additionally, there have been 70 large groups of 100 or more individuals totaling 12,069 apprehensions, compared to what Border Patrol encountered in FY18, which was 13 large groups, and in FY17, which was only two.
“We are currently facing a humanitarian and national security crisis along our southwest border. The vast increases in families and children coming across our border, in larger groups and in more remote areas, presents a unique challenge to our operations and facilities, and those of our partners, including the NGOS who work to assist these individuals and families throughout their immigration proceedings,” said CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan. “This is why I am working with our government partners and have identified additional funding for humanitarian resources in the field, including expanded medical protocols, and the addition of a more appropriate central processing center to handle the increased volumes of family units and unaccompanied minors.”
In response to the vast increases of Family Units and Unaccompanied Children encountered along the Southwest Border, CBP has implemented a directive to increase medical support for migrants while in CBP custody. The Interim Medical Directive works to address emerging health concerns with an emphasis on treatment for juvenile detainees.
CBP will also expand contracted medical support in major “high-risk” locations at and between ports of entry along the SWB where we have seen or anticipate large numbers of FMUA and UAC. This contracted medical support includes medical assessments by certified medical professionals (usually Registered Nurses and Family Nurse Practitioners) and translation services.
In addition, CBP is standing up a Centralized Processing Center (CPC) in El Paso, Texas, to increase the care of and provision for UAC and FMUA in the temporary custody of CBP while awaiting disposition by ICE and/or placement with HHS.
To view Southwest Border Migration statistics, please visit www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/sw-border-migration.