WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported an uptick of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border during August.
The border towns of Big Bend, Texas, and Yuma, Ariz., experienced an increase in the number of unaccompanied children crossing the borders at rates of of 251 percent and 177 percent, respectively. Yuma also showed a 130 percent surge in family crossings.
In addition to San Diego and the El Paso, Texas, region, these areas were the sites of the lowest amount of human traffic in 2014.
A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed the findings to ABC News, which also reported the apprehension rate of unaccompanied children and family units surged in August. Despite the month-on-month increase, the apprehension rate of families was 46 percent lower than the same point last year. More than 5,000 family units and 4,600 unaccompanied children were arrested at the border in August.
The August 2015 figures are still lower than those seen during the 2014 crisis when up to 10,000 children a month and another 16,000 adults with children flooded the country’s southwestern border.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday the typically hotter temperatures in August serve to stymie the flow of border crossings and called the new numbers “a surprising uptick.”
“There is no family that should even contemplate putting a young child in the hands of a human trafficker in response to promises that that person can get their child into the United States,” he said. “That journey is dangerous, and those human traffickers all too often aren’t able to deliver. And part of that is because this administration has been cracking down on human traffickers.”
The government has also increased the resources allotted to border patrol agencies to allow them to deal with the overflow. A “Dangers Awareness” campaign throughout Central American countries also appeared to have discouraged further border crossings until the surge during August.