Border Patrol is reporting “a dramatic rise” in the number of African migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in recent days.
Border Patrol agents in the Del Rio Sector have apprehended more than 500 individuals from the continent of Africa since May 20, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The migrants — most of them family units from Congo, Angola and Cameroon — are increasingly found trying to cross the Rio Grande River, exacerbating an immigration crisis primarily driven by Central Americans.
“The introduction of this new population places additional burdens on processing stations, to include language and cultural differences,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz said in a CBP press release Wednesday. “Our agents continue to meet each new challenge as the ongoing humanitarian crisis evolves.”
Agents at the Del Rio Sector, a stretch of border between Texas and Mexico, apprehended their first large group of African migrants on May 30, nabbing 116 Africans crossing the Rio Grande together.
A group of migrants is considered “large” if it’s made up of 100 or more persons.
U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to Del Rio Sector apprehended a large group of 116 individuals—from Angola, Cameroon and Congo—after they illegally crossed the Rio Grande River into the U.S. on Thursday: https://t.co/5VsJsD4nPF pic.twitter.com/HWGyVtzEC6
— CBP (@CBP) May 31, 2019
“Large groups present a unique challenge for the men and women of the Del Rio Sector,” Ortiz said of the record-setting capture.
“This large group from Africa further demonstrates the complexity and severity of the border security and humanitarian crisis at our Southwest border.”
Border agents are not sure what routes African migrants are using to reach the U.S., but like their Central American counterparts, they appear to understand the loopholes around American immigration laws.
Most of the African groups, according to CBP, are made up of family units. The presence of related children makes it more difficult for U.S. officials to quickly deport illegal migrants.
Nearly 133,000 illegal migrants were caught along the U.S.-Mexico border throughout May, the largest number of apprehensions in more than a decade and the third consecutive month where encounters topped 100,000.
More than a half-million migrant arrests have been made since the beginning of the 2019 fiscal year, and experts predict a million apprehensions will be reached before the fiscal year ends.
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