(KGTV) - Apprehensions at the U.S. Southwest border increased dramatically during the past fiscal year, with over 92,000 migrants -- including 53,000 family units -- apprehended in March alone.
“[Customs and Border Protection] is currently experiencing an unprecedented and unsustainable situation at the Southwest border -- a border security and humanitarian crisis,” CBP officials said Tuesday.
Officials said the situation at the border has reached a “breaking point” as updated statistics showed 385,000 total apprehensions from Oct. 2018-March 2019 (FY 2019) -- double the number from the same timeframe last year.
According to CBP officials, family units and unaccompanied children made up 62 percent of Southwest border apprehensions. Family unit apprehensions increased nearly 375 percent compared to the same timeframe the previous fiscal year.
During a record-setting March, officials said 92,000 were apprehended. Of that total, 53,000 were family units, 30,000 were single adults and 8,900 were unaccompanied minors. CBP Chief Brian Hastings said there were about 3,000 apprehensions per day in the month of March.
Officials noted that there were nearly 67,000 apprehensions in February.
CBP officials said most of 92,000 people apprehended were from the “northern triangle,” which consists of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
According to officials, agents and officers from other border sectors have been transferred to sectors that have been heavily impacted by overcrowded facilities and less-than-ideal staffing levels. Officials identified the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso and Yuma sectors as areas needing the most assistance.
Agents are also seeing a rise in “large groups” -- groups with 100 or more people -- heading to the border. So far, in fiscal year 2019, agents have encountered 100 large groups.
However, in 2018, the number of large groups was 13. There were only two documented large groups in 2017, officials said.
CBP Deputy Commissioner Robert E. Perez said, "We are currently experiencing a system-wide emergency in our processing and holding facilities. The humanitarian crisis created by a massive influx of family groups and unaccompanied children in recent months has forced CBP to reallocate resources away from law enforcement, trade and travel missions to process and provide care for those in our custody. The impacts to legitimate trade and travel cannot be overstated. As this crisis continues to worsen, it undermines CBP’s ability to perform its dual mission of protecting our borders and facilitating legitimate trade and travel.”