TUCSON — The government may have been shutdown, but for illegal immigrants the southern border remained wide open.
After apprehending 242 Central Americans in the Ajo area Thursday morning, United States Customs and Border Protection reported that the humanitarian crisis continues unabated.
The crisis came into sharp focus when Border Patrol agents encountered the large group of Central Americans after they illegally entered the country and surrendered to agents west of Lukeville.
Agents discovered the group after they crawled over and under the crude vehicle barrier separating the United States from Mexico, said a release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“The group, consisting primarily of family units from Central America included 130 juveniles, 11 of which were traveling without a legal guardian,” the release said. “Last week’s large group that arrived by a tour bus crossed in this same remote location.”
Trained medical staff from U.S. Department of Homeland Security were flown via helicopter to the Ajo Border Patrol Station to screen every juvenile in the group as well as any adults with medical complaints. Two juveniles with a high fevers were sent to a local hospital for treatment while the others began immigration processing, the release said.
The DHS medical personnel effectively treating several people, so that they did not need additional treatment.
Since Oct. 1, the Tucson Sector has seen more than a 231% increase in family units crossing illegally over the same period for the previous year.
This is in addition to the 142% surge of fiscal year 2018: Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018, compared to the previous fiscal year, according to CBP.