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Migrants Detained After Crossing Into Arizona Under U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

Migrants Detained After Crossing Into Arizona Under U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

The Border Patrol says it arrested a group of 376 Central Americans in southwest Arizona, the vast majority of them families who used short holes dug under a barrier to cross the border.

Some 400 miles east in Lordsburg, New Mexico, for example, two-dozen large groups - consisting of at least 100 people - have crossed the border since October 1, according to CBP.

Smugglers dug seven holes a few feet long under the steel border fence there, and hundreds scrambled under the wall, according to Customs and Border Protection, ABC News reported.

"In my 30 years with the Border Patrol, I have not been part of arresting a group of 376 people", Anthony Porvaznik, the CBP sector chief in Yuman, said in an interview for ABC. "The vast majority of them, like the group near Yuma Monday, surrender immediately or seek out Border Patrol agents in order to begin the asylum process".

"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.

It is believed to be the largest single group to cross the border illegally to request asylum.

'The only reason they're trying to say that they're family units is that they know if they're a family unit, they're going to be released within 20 days, ' Porvaznik said. More than 30 were unaccompanied minors, or children under 18 traveling on their own.

"That's our No. 1 challenge that we have here in the Yuma sector, is the humanitarian problem", Porvaznik added. "As I mentioned, 87 percent of the apprehensions here are family units and unaccompanied alien children".

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The Border Patrol released more information about that group Friday, saying that the crossing had been timed to serve as a distraction so illegal drugs could be moved across the border just west of Antelope Wells. Stretched thin, CBP has only three agents patrolling the 26-mile section of border.

The group is believed to be the largest one yet to cross the border in a bid to get asylum in the U.S. The agency noted that smugglers often try to transport large groups of people and instruct them to cross the border and voluntarily surrender.

The stalemate has resulted in a partial government shutdown now in its 28th day with no end in sight, leaving 800,000 federal workers in limbo.

Patrols at the US-Mexico border have caught a record number of illegal immigrants who crossed through multiple tunnels under the steel border fence near San Luis, Arizona.

President Trump and congressional Democrats are now deadlocked over funding for a border wall.

Border Patrol apprehensions of migrants across the US-Mexico border have increased in recent months, spurred on by a surge in families seeking asylum at the US border.

The White House wants over $5 billion for the border wall, but Democrats have so far refused to cave in to the demands, President Trump's signature campaign issue.

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