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DIGGING DEEPER: Surge of migrants continues at southern border

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Federal authorities are dealing with an increase in the number of migrants illegally crossing the southern border, plus a massive backlog in asylum cases in U.S. immigration courts. 

Comparing May of this year to 2020, the number of migrants apprehended in the Border Patrol's Tucson sector was up by 546%.

For the entire southern border, the number of migrant encounters with law enforcement in May 2021 topped 180,000 including nearly 20,000 in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector.  

Another big issue is the backlog of more than 1.3 million pending asylum cases, including about 15,000 in Arizona.

The federal government has set up temporary facilities for families and unaccompanied children in Texas and at a site east of the Tucson International Airport.

As the Digging Deeper team first uncovered in April, the cost for that facility could top $100 million.

Paul Birmingham

Paul Birmingham is an Investigative Producer for KVOA News 4 Tucson. He is a three time Edward R. Murrow award winner, native Tucsonan, and a proud Arizona Wildcat.

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