Border Patrol agents nabbed 424 illegal aliens attempting to cross the border in a single group, marking the largest apprehension in the agency’s history.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, agents encountered a large group of “what seemed to be over 400 illegal aliens” near the border town of Sunland Park, New Mexico, according to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release. The group of mostly Central American families and unaccompanied minors reached the border shortly after midnight.
Hours after their apprehension, Border Patrol was able to count every individual and determine the group was a record-setting size.
“This is an ongoing situation that U.S Border Patrol agents are facing in southern New Mexico: hundreds of parents and children being encountered by agents after having faced a dangerous journey in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers,” CBP wrote in its press release, revealing the massive group traveled with the help of human smugglers.
LARGEST GROUP APPREHENDED—#BorderPatrol agents apprehended the largest group of 424 illegal aliens just after midnight this morning in Sunland Park, NM. A second group of 230 illegal aliens was also apprehended in Antelope Wells, NM this morning. More: https://t.co/54XxK78XB2 pic.twitter.com/i5owidRi1t
— CBP (@CBP) April 30, 2019
Border Patrol agents in New Mexico apprehended another large group of illegal migrants shortly afterward. Officials working in the Antelope Wells Port of Entry, about 160 miles west of Sunland Park, encountered 230 illegal aliens around 2 a.m., bringing New Mexico’s Tuesday morning haul to more than 600.
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News of the recording-setting apprehension comes as more Americans believed that the situation at the border constitutes a “crisis.” A survey conducted earlier in April found 56 percent of Republicans calling it a crisis, and 35 percent of Democrats agreeing. The results were a steady rise from January, where only 49 percent of Republicans and 7 percent of Democrats had said the same thing.
The highest number of apprehensions in over a decade took place in March, and experts believe the numbers will continue to climb as the summer months approach. Fiscal year 2019 has already surpassed the previous fiscal year’s total apprehensions.
“Criminal organizations continue to exploit innocent human lives in order to enhance their illicit activities without due regard to the risks of human life. In most cases these smugglers never cross the border themselves in order to avoid apprehension,” CBP continued in its statement.
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