May 4 (UPI) -- The number of persons arrested trying to cross unlawfully into the United States from Mexico tripled in April compared to the same month last year, the Department of Homeland Security said Friday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a DHS agency, released statistics Thursday that show 38,234 immigrants were detained on the border in April. That figure increased from March (37,383) and February (26,662).
The number of apprehensions last month increased 223 percent from April 2017, the department said.
"[The] migration numbers underscore the continuing security crisis along our southwest border," DHS spokesman Tyler Houston said in a statement. "For the second month in a row, we have seen more than 50,000 individuals try to illegally enter the United States."
The report came as a caravan of migrants from Central America waits at the U.S.-Mexico border. Some of their requests for political asylum are being examined, but most are still waiting to be processed.
Officials say about 160 have entered the United States to have their cases heard. At least 70 crossed the border near San Diego Thursday, the group organizing the caravan said.
The group of migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala once included about 1,000 people.
The figures also reflect greater efforts by President Donald Trump's administration to implement better security at the southern border and crack down on unlawful crossings.