Society

Border Crossings Surge Over 40% But Shelter Is Scarce

| by Oren Peleg

Since 2014, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents have been struggling with the influx of Central American immigrants flooding into the United States. These migrants, including unaccompanied children, often enter the country illegally and seek humanitarian relief.

According to KENS, in October alone over 46,000 people were detained by CBP along the border. These immigrants -- including Haitians, Hondurans, El Salvadorans, and Guatemalans -- are fleeing wars and natural disasters at home.

Once they enter the U.S., these migrants and refugees are placed in temporary shelters, which can hold between 500 and 1,000 people. However, U.S. officials are struggling to find room to house the growing numbers, and the price tag is getting bigger. Each of these temporary facilities costs $3.8 million.

“It got to the point where we simply could not handle the amount of people that were coming in or requesting asylum,” said David Higgerson, a field operations director for CBP.

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“Are the numbers concerning? Yes, they are,” CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said. “We made it very clear to the [federal] appropriators that this is an expensive proposition.”

According to The Huffington Post, the 46,195 people apprehended at the border in October is a 41 percent increase over the same month in 2015. Furthermore, over 19,000 of those people are unaccompanied minors or mothers traveling with children.

According to the San Antonio Express-News Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released hundreds of detained migrants from family detention centers in Dilley and Karnes City, Texas, during the first week of December. The migrants, who were ordered to later appear before immigration courts, then swamped a San Antonio church shelter.

Of the 500 detainees released from these detention centers between Dec. 3 and 4, only 100 remained in San Antonio by Dec. 7. The rest had reportedly scattered across the U.S.

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With the Trump Administration set to assume power in January, U.S. officials at the Mexican border face an intensifying mix of political maneuvering and humanitarian relief. 

Sources: The Huffington Post, KENS, San Antonio Express-News / Photo credit: Ilana Panich Linsman/New York Times via San Antonio Express-News

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