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Unaccompanied Minors And Families Crossing The Southwestern U.S. Border Increase In Number As of August This Year, Says Officials

by Diana Tomale / Oct 19, 2015 11:51 PM EDT
The number of unaccompanied minors and families crossing the US-Mexico border increases in August. (Photo by John Moore / Getty Images News)

Customs and Border Protection agency recorded an increase in the number of unaccompanied minors and families who crossed the US-Mexico border in August as compared to the previous month.

"In August, US Customs and Border Protection experienced an increase from the month of July in the number of unaccompanied children and family units apprehended," the agency said in a dispatch, as noted by CNN on September 21.

However, the agency revealed that the number of apprehensions as of August this year is still lower as compared to the number of apprehensions recorded on the same period last year.

"Overall, the number of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) apprehensions in 2015 remains significantly lower compared to the number of apprehensions through August of last year, with a 46 percent decrease."

Over 4,600 unaccompanied children and over 5,000 adults with children were caught crossing the US-Mexico border for the month of August alone, as per Customs and Border Protection agency.

"Total apprehensions across our entire Southwest border remain at near-historic lows," the agency said.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said they have seen "a surprising uptick" in the number of crossings in August.

"We have seen...in the month of August, a surprising uptick, and it still is below -- far below the levels that we saw at the peak last year," said Earnest. "In August, the numbers decline because of the weather patterns. Instead, we saw an increase. So that is something that is concerning."

In addition, a spokesperson from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported more than 30,000 unaccompanied children have been referred on the department's Office of Refugee Resettlement.

"Since July, we have seen the number of referrals of unaccompanied children to HHS continue to increase to a total of nearly 4,400 in August," the spokesperson said, as reported by ABC News on Sunday. "In FY [Fiscal Year] 2015, so far, approximately 31,000 unaccompanied children have been referred to the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement.

"Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure we have sufficient bed capacity this fall, we have decided to increase the capacity of our current providers to between 8,500 and 8,700 beds at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2016."

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