There is an increase in large groups of undocumented immigrants illegally entering the United States from Mexico in the past month, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
From September 26 to October 3rd, CBP reported more than 800 Central Americans were arrested for crossing the border illegally in Ajo about five to seven miles near the Port of Lukeville.
“We have seen numbers like this but many many years ago and it’s starting to come back,” said Agent Christopher Sullivan with Tucson Sector Public Affairs.
Many are families he says, and the youngest person was three months old.
“The cartels, the Transnational Criminal Organizations, they want to make a profit,” he said. “They see each person coming across the border illegally as a dollar sign and they are the ones pushing these individuals a little west into the desert environment with false hope.”
Agent Sullivan said that human smugglers are taking advantage of the vulnerable by promising them financial gain and assistance but ending up shuttling these groups into remote and rugged areas putting their lives at risk.
He says this year there is nearly double the number of people illegally crossing the border compared to last.
CBP reports many are migrants from Guatemala and some final destinations are Charleston, South Carolina; Oakland, California; and Homestead, Florida.
Agent Sullivan says it is straining their resources to respond to these large groups and at the same time, CBP reports it is diverting national security efforts.