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Hundreds Of Border Agents Reassigned As Illegal Crossings Reach Record Highs

REUTERS/Mike Blake

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) announced Wednesday that it is reassigning more than 700 officers to assist the Border Patrol as it faces an “unprecedented” security crisis.

CBP’s Office of Field Operations will temporarily reassign up to 750 of its officers to Border Patrol sectors along the country’s southwest border, helping the agency manage the influx of illegal migrants in recent days. Redeployed officers will assist with various processing responsibilities, such as transportation and hospital watch of detained individuals.

“Border Patrol processing facilities on the Southwest border have far exceeded capacity and the Border Patrol does not have the personnel to process, care for, and transport individuals in custody without help from its partners,” CBP said in a statement on Wednesday.

CBP officers will be redirected from ports of entry in the Tucson, Laredo, El Paso and San Diego field offices — a move that CBP acknowledges will affect its capabilities to press travel and trade.

News of the reassignments come as the southwest border has experienced a historic week in illegal border crossings. CBP reported 4,000 apprehensions and encounters on Monday, the highest volume in over a decade. However, the record-setting number was broken the very next day, with 4,117 apprehensions and encounters on Tuesday.

The U.S. government is anticipating a record-setting month, with the Department of Homeland Security expecting to apprehend nearly 100,000 illegal immigrants by the end of March, which would be the highest number of border apprehensions in over ten years.

The mass number of illegal migrants — many of them family units from Central American — has left border enforcement resources stretched thin.

“CBP is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our Southwest Border,” CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday during a press conference in El Paso, Texas, discussing how the dramatic increase in border crossings is impacting his agency. “Here in El Paso, we have almost 3,500 migrants in custody this morning, in facilities designed for many fewer. We had over 1,000 apprehensions on Monday. The vast majority are families from Central America.” (RELATED: Another Migrant Caravan Is Heading Toward The US)

The recent flood of illegal immigrants has forced processing facilities to buckle under the weight.

The El Paso Border Patrol sector, for example, has temporarily shut down its highway checkpoints, redirecting officers who typically inspect cross-border cargo to instead process the high volume asylum applicants. Overcrowded Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainment centers have been forced to release 100,000 migrants family members in the past three months alone.

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