The tide of migrant families with minors and children traveling alone to the U.S., mostly from Central America, has equaled the surge of 2014 that nearly overwhelmed Border Patrol resources, reports the Dallas Morning News. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said they detained 137,366 migrants in those two categories in the fiscal year that just ended. Slightly fewer, 136,983, were detained in fiscal 2014. That was when White House officials deemed the flow a “surge” and a humanitarian crisis. Experts say violence is spurring more people to flee their homelands in El Salvador and other parts of Central America, especially women and children.
The release of the new migration numbers comes just three weeks before the presidential election, in which immigration issues and border issues with Mexico have played prominently in the campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump. The new apprehensions underscore a dramatic change in migration, said Jeh Johnson, head of the Department of Homeland Security: Mexicans no longer make up the majority of border apprehensions, and the demographics of unauthorized migrants on the southern border have changed significantly over 15 years. “Far fewer Mexicans and single adults are attempting to cross the border without authorization, but more families and unaccompanied children are fleeing poverty and violence in Central America,” he said.