The largest-ever group of illegal migrants to be caught at once have been detained by the US Border Patrol; 424 people were apprehended after midnight in Sunland Park, New Mexico, while an additional 230 refugees were arrested in New Mexico’s Antelope Wells around 2 a.m., the country’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports.
“This is an ongoing situation that US Border Patrol agents are facing in southern New Mexico: hundreds of parents and children being encountered by agents after having faced a dangerous journey in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers”, CBP said in a statement.
CBP accused criminal organisations of continuing “to exploit innocent human lives in order to enhance their illicit activities without due regard to the risks of human life”.
“In most cases these smugglers never cross the border themselves in order to avoid apprehension”, CBP underscored.
The development comes after the Pentagon announced on Monday that it will send about 300 troops to the US-Mexico border to implement tasks that will put them in contact with migrants.
According to the Department of Defense, the troops will be tasked with providing administrative support; they will help transport migrants, distribute meals and “monitor” their welfare.
Earlier, CBS 4 cited unnamed migrants from Latin America as saying that local newspaper advertisements had lured them into attempting to reach the US, pledging job opportunities and free assistance from US authorities.
“The whole word knows, they put it in the news. They tell us everywhere if you come to the United States, they’ll help you,” a Honduran woman told CBS 4.
Their opposition has forced Trump to announce a national emergency in order to overcome Congress' reluctance and to free up to $8 billion in federal funding to build a wall on the US southern border. He claims that the wall is needed to prevent criminals and drugs from pouring into the US.
The situation on the country’s southern border escalated last fall, when a caravan which included thousands of people from Central American countries reached the US. The border guards, however, managed to repel migrants trying to cross the border.