Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's plans to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has spurred a new surge of migrants into the U.S.
Statistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection reveal that 150,304 migrants were detained by Border Patrol agents between October 2015 and February 2016, which is an increase of 24 percent from the same period of time a year before, Reuters reports.
From October 2015 to January 2016, records show 20,455 children were caught at the border, an increase of more than 100 percent from a year earlier.
Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, said: "It seems [migrants] agree Mr. Trump will be tough, build the wall and stop illegal immigration."
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"[Migrants] think they need to take advantage while they can," Blanca Rivera, manager of a migrant shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, told Reuters.
The U.S Department of Homeland Security is proposing a budget that will mean 300 fewer Border Patrol agents in 2017 from the 21,000 agents for the 2016 fiscal year, KRGV reports.
The rise in apprehensions of unaccompanied children and families by Border Patrol agents since September 2015 may have other causes than an increase in migrants overall.
“One, we have people turning themselves in at unprecedented rates," National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 Vice President Chris Cabrera told KRGV.
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"Then we have the people that are always coming in illegally," Cabrera added. "Then we have the drug flow that’s coming north and the money that’s going south and the weapons that are going south. And to cut jobs at a time like this is a recipe for disaster.”