The government set another grim record in May with more than 55,000 children nabbed by Border Patrol agents along the southwest border.
They were part of more than 130,000 unauthorized migrants Border Patrol agents and officers at the ports of entry encountered last month, up from about 109,000 in April and far higher than the 51,000 or so nabbed in May 2018.
But even record overall numbers shield the true expanse of the crisis, officials said.
As much as 60 percent of agents’ time is now spent babysitting illegal immigrants rather than patrolling the border, and they’re setting records for making rescues of migrants in distress. Meanwhile border detention facilities are packed, with more than 19,000 people in space that is already in crisis when it reaches 6,000.
Personnel have been pulled off the lines at the border crossings and used to help care for the record numbers of children and families, but it’s meant people crossing are having to wait longer. The delays during peak times are 40 minutes longer for regular traffic, and 25 minutes longer in the commercial traffic lanes, said Randy Howell, executive director of port operations at Customs and Border Protection.
“We are busting at the seams,” he said.
It will take “more people, more facilities and more supplies” to get a handle on things, acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders said.