Customs and Border Protection officer processes unaccompanied minor. (Photo: Gerald L. Nino, CBP, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security)
December 28, 2015
The latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics show that illegal immigration by unaccompanied minors and family units surged during the first two months of FY2016 compared to the same period in FY2015.
According to CPB, 106 percent more unaccompanied alien children (UAC) under the age of 17 were apprehended illegally crossing the southern border of the U.S. between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, 2015 than during the same time a year ago.
Statistics released by the federal agency show that 10,588 UACs were apprehended at the nation’s southern border with Mexico compared to the first two months of FY2015, when 5,129 UACs were taken into custody.
The surge in unaccompanied minors was concentrated in two sectors – Big Bend in Texas and Yuma in Arizona– which both saw a more than 500 percent increase in the number of UACs crossing into the U.S. illegally. The El Paso sector was next, reporting a 250 percent increase.
The statistics also show an even larger surge in the number of family units apprehended at the border – a 173 percent increase so far in the first two months of FY2016.
According to statistics from FY2015 (Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 2014) 4,577 family units were apprehended at the southwest border, compared to 12,505 during the same period in FY2016.
Three sectors – Big Bend, El Paso in Texas, and Yuma – saw more than a 500 percent increase in family unit apprehensions. “Family unit” is defined by CBP as either a parent or guardian with a child under 18 years old.
CBP also said that the Obama administration would be expanding its holding facilities to accommodate the latest surge in illegal immigration.
According to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – the two federal agencies tasked with logistics for these illegal immigrants – bed capacity increased from 7,900 to 8,400 in November and the federal government “is preparing for temporary bed space in the event that additional beds are needed.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, the Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS has begun a process to expand its temporary capacity to house unaccompanied children,” a statement accompanying the statistics states. “This is a prudent step to ensure that the Border Patrol can continue its vital national security mission
to prevent illegal migration, trafficking, and protect the borders of the United States.”
Despite its own statistics showing a new surge in illegal immigration, CBP stated that the Obama administration is working “aggressively” to secure the U.S. border.
“We continue to aggressively work to secure our borders, address underlying causes and deter future increases in unauthorized migration, while ensuring that those with legitimate humanitarian claims are afforded the opportunity to seek protection,” the statement reads. “We also continue to look at broader regional efforts to address the flow of children and family units from Central America into the United States.”
The majority of UACs and family units apprehended by CBP are from Central America and Mexico.
As reported earlier by CNSNews.com, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report in September calling on the Obama administration to release illegal alien women and children being held in federal detention centers “right away.”
The commission’s recommendation was based on a ruling in July by a Federal District Court judge in California that said detainees should be released as soon as possible.