In the early morning hours on Tuesday, U.S. Border Patrol agents in El Paso, Texas, detained over 400 illegal immigrants in the span of five minutes.
The first group of 194 illegal border crossers turned themselves in at 2:45 a.m. Just five minutes later, at 2:50 a.m., a second group of 252 people were apprehended just a few miles west of the first group.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the group consisted of mostly Central American families and unaccompanied children, in a press release.
“Agents had already taken over 430 people into custody within the first three hours in what appears to be only the beginning of another busy day for the El Paso Sector Border Patrol,” CBP said.
CBP shared pictures of men, women, and children standing wrapped in blankets.
#BorderPatrol agents apprehended 2 large groups within 5 minutes of one another in El Paso Sector early this morning. The groups totaled 430 individuals—mostly Central American families and unaccompanied children. https://t.co/PaXLjnqhgL pic.twitter.com/ZH9k05Kndl
— CBP (@CBP) March 20, 2019
CBP said their agents have averaged 570 apprehensions a day over the last 30 days—90 percent of which occur in the El Paso Metropolitan Area.
On March 7, Border Patrol apprehended more than 1,000 Central American migrants in El Paso in a single day.
Although the number of illegal crossings is significantly lower than its peak in 2001, Border Patrol resources are strained by the influx of families and abuse of the asylum-seeking process.
“The challenge is that the numbers are not a record, but back then (more than a decade ago) we were dealing mostly with adult Mexican males, which means we could arrest, process and remove them to their country of origin in hours,” said Jose Romero, an agency spokesman.