Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson speaks about the success of the Transportation Security Administration September. On Saturday, he announced a surge in border patrol officers on the Texas border due to a larger-than-normal number of children and families trying to cross in to the country from Mexico. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
BROWNSVILLE, Texas, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A surge in attempted border crossings by children and families has sent an extra 150 U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents scrambling to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.
Just in October, 46,195 people were stopped at the border, compared to 39,501 a month earlier and 37,048 in August, Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson said. "As a result, there are currently about 41,000 individuals in our immigration detention facilities." Typically, there are 31,000-34,000 he said.
The agents are coming to Texas from San Diego, Tucson, and Del Rio Sectors to increase screening, as well as classification and documentation, U.S. Customs said in a press release Saturday. The focus will be mostly on unaccompanied children and family units.
The extra agents will likely remain in South Texas for at least two months, said Chris Cabrera with the National Border Patrol Council.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has made illegal immigration a priority in his upcoming term. On Sunday night, in his first post-election interview, he will tell Leslie Stahl that he plans to deport 2 to 3 million illegal immigrants and erect a partial wall, partial fence to keep others from getting in.
The same part of South Texas experienced a surge of unaccompanied children and families in the summer of 2014, most from Guatemala, Honduras and other Central American countries. Unaccompanied minors have been flocking to the Mexico-U.S. border since 2012, according to the Migration Policy Institute, which is a non-partisan organization.
"Those who attempt to enter our country without authorization should know that, consistent with our laws and our values, we must and we will send you back," Homeland Security's Johnson said. "Once again, I encourage migrants and their families to pursue the various safe and legal paths available for those in need of humanitarian protection in the United States."