June 5 (UPI) — The United States experienced a surge of apprehensions at the Southwest border in the month of May, detaining more than 144,000 people as the Trump administration announced cuts to programs for unaccompanied migrant children.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection released data on Wednesday showing they apprehended 144,278 people who attempted to cross into the United States illegally, including 11,391 who presented themselves at ports of entry and were deemed inadmissible.
May saw by far the highest amount of apprehensions at the Southwest border for fiscal year 2019, surpassing the previous high of 99,304 in April, a 45 percent increase. Apprehensions also nearly tripled from May of last year, when 51,862 people were apprehended and increased more than sevenfold from the 19,966 arrested in May 2017.
A total of 593,507 people have been detained with four months left in fiscal year 2019 surpassing the previous high of 521,090 throughout the entire 2018 fiscal year.
There were 84,542 family units and 11,507 unaccompanied children apprehended in the month of May and another 4,134 family units and 386 children were deemed inadmissible.
The CBP has more than 19,000 people in custody after attempting to cross the border, resulting in overpacked holding cells while they wait to be processed, The Washington Post reported.
“We are in a full-blown emergency and I cannot say this stronger: The system is broken,” acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders said.
Also Wednesday, the Office of Refugee Resettlement moved to end all educational, recreational and legal services provided for migrant children held in U.S. custody, CBS News reported.
The ORR said it was closing out programs “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety” of children in its custody due to the “tremendous strain” placed on the agency fueled by the influx of migrants being detained at the border.
An official with the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the ORR, told CBS it was asking Congress for $2.88 billion in emergency funding to increase capacity in shelters for children.
“Additional resources are urgently required to meet the humanitarian needs created by this influx — to both sustain critical child welfare and release operations and increase capacity,” the official said.