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Border apprehensions skyrocket to 103,000, the highest in 12 years



Just two years after the number of people apprehended crossing the border hit historic lows, it has soared to a 12-year high, enraging President Donald Trump and overwhelming the government agency responsible for arresting migrants.

Customs and Border Protection released new data on Tuesday, showing that 103,492 migrants were arrested or deemed inadmissible in March 2019. More than 53,000 of those migrants came as family units, nearly 9,000 were unaccompanied children, and more than 30,000 were single adults.

The last time monthly apprehensions were that high was in 2007, and the agency estimates the monthly apprehensions will soon hit 150,000.

Shayanne Gal/INSIDER

Read more: Trump is booting out anyone who tells him his immigration ideas are illegal. Experts are worried about what will happen next.

“We’ve arrived at the breaking point,” Brian Hastings, CBP’s chief of law enforcement operations, told reporters Tuesday, calling the situation “an unprecedented humanitarian and border-security crisis.”

The numbers show how a new trend has been picking up in recent years, which has posed new humanitarian and logistical challenges for the Border Patrol agents arresting the migrants.

Rather than the single, Mexican men looking for work who made up most of the border apprehensions in the past, these new migrants are families from Central America, often with young children.

The migrants are fleeing their home countries due to poverty and violence, and often have been told by smugglers that they’ll fare better in the US immigration system if they bring their children with them.

Kirstjen Nielsen resigned as Homeland Security secretary on Sunday night.
Associated Press/Alex Brandon

Furious at the soaring numbers, Trump has begun purging his top officials at the Department of Homeland Security, forcing the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday and withdrawing his nominee for director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“Everybody is now acknowledging that, right from the time I announced my run for President, I was 100% correct on the Border. Remember the heat I took?” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Democrats should now get rid of the loopholes. The Border is being fixed. Mexico will not let people through!”

Read more:4 reasons the number of families crossing the US-Mexico border illegally is soaring, and how Trump may have made the problem worse

Trump is reportedly weighing increasingly extreme solutions to the border surge, including a revised version of family separations that would allow migrant parents to choose whether they wanted to be detained and separated from their children, or detained together indefinitely.

His administration has faced criticism for its handling of the migrants — particularly for detaining migrant families for days on end in an open-air enclosure underneath a bridge in El Paso, Texas in March. After the backlash, the enclosure was quickly shut down and the migrants relocated.

Immigration advocates and experts have urged Trump not to focus on policies that attempt to deter migrants from coming — rather, they have argued that long-term strategies like sending Northern Triangle countries financial aid would be more effective.

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