U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas apprehended 116 African migrants who illegally crossed the Rio Grande and entered the U.S. last week.
The group consisted of migrants from Angola, Cameroon and Congo, and they were apprehended south of downtown El Paso, between Bridge of the Americas and Stanton Street Bridge around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) statement on Friday.
The group primarily consisted of families with young children and many unaccompanied minors.
This was the first time a group of this size has been arrested at the Del Rio Sector, and also the first group of Africans to be detained.
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said, “Large groups present a unique challenge for the men and women of the Del Rio Sector. This large group from Africa further demonstrates the complexity and severity of the border security and humanitarian crisis at our Southwest border.”
“Border authorities nabbed a group of 116 illegal immigrants from Africa this week, saying it’s the first time they’ve found Africans taking advantage of the large-group tactic Central American migrants have learned to abuse.” https://t.co/jgSZCT3rf3
— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) June 3, 2019
Just two days later on June 1, Eagle Pass Station sector Border Patrol agents apprehended another 37 African immigrants.
“We are continuing to see a rise in apprehensions of immigrants from countries not normally encountered in our area,” said Ortiz in another CBP statement. “Groups of family units from around the world are traveling thousands of miles just enter the United States illegally to exploit our immigration laws.”
Border Patrol has apprehended 182 groups of more than 100 people each, all crossing the southern border in the fiscal year 2019, which is a 450 percent increase from the previous year.
On May 29, Border Patrol agents in El Paso seized the largest group of illegal immigrants in history, after 1,036 were detained trying to cross the border, AP News reported.
CBP Deputy Commissioner Robert E. Perez said, “The apprehension of 1,036 individuals in a single group – the largest group ever encountered by Border Patrol agents – demonstrates the severity of the border security and humanitarian crisis at our Southwest border. The dedicated men and women of CBP, and in particular the U.S Border Patrol, are doing their very best every day to address the influx of family units and unaccompanied children.”
The group detained on May 29 were from Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador and included 934 family members, 63 unaccompanied minors, and 39 single adults. They are all in custody of the U.S. Border Patrol and will remain there until processing is complete.
As the numbers of Central American families arriving at the southern border keeps increasing, Border Patrol is strained to catch up.