Nearly 400 arrested after digging holes to cross border into US

20 January, 2019, 00:48 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Border Patrol Large group of immigrants dug under border fence to cross in US

On Wednesday, the Border Patrol arrested 247 people, mostly from Central America, who turned themselves in to agents in a highly remote part of New Mexico, where authorities have found 25 groups of more than 100 people since October.

"These individuals dug seven holes underneath the border wall, and it's important to know this area wasn't erected as one single structure".

"The United States Border Patrol is constantly building intelligence in order to combat these trafficking organizations that are constantly targeting them and gaining intelligence in order to apprehend them in the future", said Jose Garibay, Yuma Sector Border Patrol public information officer. Most surrender to federal agents and ask for asylum.

The largest single group of asylum-seekers to be taken into custody in the US reportedly tunneled beneath a section of the border wall outside Yuma, Arizona. It included 30 so-called unaccompanied minors, or children traveling without their parents.

Of the 179 minors in the group, Newsweek reported, 30 of them were unaccompanied.

"That's our No. 1 challenge that we have here in the Yuma sector, is the humanitarian problem", he told ABC News.

The Trump administration has pointed to a reduction in border crossings from their all-time high in Yuma sector to make the case that walls work. "That's really unheard of".


"This is an ongoing situation that Border Patrol Agents face in southern New Mexico: hundreds of parents and children being encountered by agents after having faced a treacherous journey in the hands of unsafe smugglers", the Border Patrol said. "As I mentioned, 87 percent of the apprehensions here are family units and unaccompanied alien children".

During Monday's apprehension, only three agents were patrolling a 26-mile stretch of the border.

USA authorities say 115 migrants smuggled to a border crossing in New Mexico are the second large group of Central Americans encountered by agents at the remote port of entry in as many days.

Deadlock over the demand led to the partial federal government shutdown, which entered its 28th day on Friday and is now the longest in USA history.

US President Donald Trump has said the situation at the US-Mexican border a "humanitarian crisis" and urged Democrats to approve funding for tightening border security.

On Wednesday, almost 250 immigrants were taken into custody at the same crossing after turning themselves in to authorities.

But while there has been a surge in the number of Central Americans seeking asylum in the USA in recent months, the number of arrests remains low by historical standards. Mr. Trump refuses to sign any government funding bill that does not include money for a wall, and Democrats are refusing to negotiate while the government is shut down.

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