Border Patrol Arrests 376 Who Dug Under Barrier in Arizona

Border Patrol Arrests 376 Who Dug Under Barrier in Arizona

Kerry Wise
January 20, 2019

The group of 376 Central Americans "inundated agents" after crossing the border through a series of hasty tunnels near Yuma, Arizona on Monday, Customs and Border Protection said.

Around 30 unaccompanied minors were smuggled into the USA after tunneling beneath the border wall near San Luis, Arizona on Monday together with a group of over 300 Central American migrants who then surrendered themselves to the Border Patrol.

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. They had left their home country eight days ago and most of their trip was made by bus. Most surrender to federal agents and ask for asylum.

The group surrendered to Border Patrol agents after crossing the border. "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".

The migrant group included 376 people, 179 of which were reportedly children, 30 of whom were unaccompanied minors.

The asylum seekers were separated into cells: fathers with sons, fathers with daughters, unaccompanied minors and mothers with children.

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.

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'The only thing that solves that problem is a change in the law, ' CBP Yuma Border Sector Chief Anthony Porvaznik told ABC News. "As I mentioned, 87 percent of the apprehensions here are family units and unaccompanied alien children". Stretched thin, CBP has only three agents patrolling the 26-mile section of border. The migrants were transported to the central processing center near Yuma.

On Wednesday, a separate group of 247 people illegally crossed into the US near the Antelope Wells Port of Entry in New Mexico.

In the meantime, Democrats, who dominate the House of Representatives, have blocked Trump's funding requests for his border protection project, which involves a $5.7 billion investment in construction of physical barrier on the border, forcing the government into longest shutdown in USA history and furloughing hundreds of thousands of government employees without payment.

The crossings came as President Trump is demanding $5.7 billion for his long-promised border wall with Mexico.

The Trump administration previously tried to implement a new rule that would ban migrants from requesting asylum if they illegally cross the border in a bid to encourage applying to asylum outside the U.S.

Despite a surge in asylum-seeking families from Central America in recent months, border arrests remain low by historical standards.