Daily border crossings of illegal migrants over the past month have surpassed a daily average not seen since fiscal year 2006, stark evidence of the escalating situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers apprehended or stopped 3,974 illegal migrants on March 19, marking the single highest day since Present Donald Trump entered office, according to CBP data obtained by NBC News. There have been six other days in February where crossings surpassed 3,595, topping the 3,530 daily average seen in fiscal year 2006.
These seven days — which took place over just the past six weeks — are all the highest on record since the beginning of the Trump administration.
The latest numbers are not totally surprising. Illegal immigrant apprehensions have been steadily rising this year, and the Department of Homeland Security predicted total apprehensions in March would reach a high not seen in over ten years. The spring months typically witness greater rates of illegal migrants as more people are willing to make the trek across Mexico during the warmer weather.
The high number of migrant apprehensions at the U.S southern border has been garnering public attention. Border Patrol agents working near El Paso, Texas, for example, reported catching over 430 illegal immigrants over a period of just five minutes on March 19.
The type of immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally are different than what was experienced in the late 1990s and early 2000s, many of whom during that period were adult Mexican nationals. The vast majority of illegals apprehended at the border today are families, and most of them are from Central America. Out of the 3,834 illegal migrants the CBP encountered on March 12, the majority of them — 2,022 — were members of family unit.
The new demographics make it difficult for immigration enforcement officials to quickly deport them, leaving detention centers overwhelmed.
A spokeswoman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed earlier in March that her agency has been forced to relieve overcrowded detainment centers by releasing 107,000 illegal immigrants in the past three months — a number that averages to over 1,000 illegals a day.
The flood of asylum requests and border crossings forced the El Paso Border Patrol sector to temporarily close its highway checkpoints. The checkpoint agents who typically check cross-border cargo for drugs are instead being redeployed to process the influx of asylum seekers.
The situation brings credence to President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration. The administration is using the emergency crisis to allocate billions in funds for border wall construction. Congressional Democrats, for their part, have heavily opposed Trump’s moves, passing a resolution through the House and Senate that condemns the declaration.
However, Trump vetoed the resolution, and Democratic attempts to override his veto failed in the House on Tuesday.
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