Groups of hundreds of immigrants from all over the world are turning up at Texas’ border with Mexico, taxing law enforcement resources that are already stretched thin, according to the Border Patrol.
Images released by the agency show large crowds of immigrants detained on the border in Starr County. In that jurisdiction alone, the Border Patrol said its agents had found six large groups, defined as having at least 100 people, over the weekend.
The six groups totaled 1,029 immigrants.
Among them were 301 children traveling without a parent or guardian, 406 single adults and 322 family units from Cuba, Romania and several Central and South American countries.
Near Eagle Pass, Texas, agents found three large groups in less than 15 hours, the agency said Tuesday. A group of 126 illegal migrants was found just before 4 a.m. on Saturday. A second group of 131 immigrants were found later that morning. By 6:15 p.m., agents came across a third large group, this one with 131 immigrants.
“The logistics required to transport and process groups of this size continue to place a strain on manpower and resources, as often they are encountered in desolate areas often inaccessible to large transport vehicles,” the Border Patrol said in a statement.
Once a rarity, large groups have become more common in the last year, according to Border Patrol statistics.
In the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector alone, agents have come across 50 large groups totaling 9,000 immigrants since October 2021. About half of those groups encountered across the length of the US-Mexico border have come through the Del Rio Sector in Texas.
In March, the most recent month for which figures are available, US Customs and Border Protection reported 221,303 migrant encounters — the most in any single month during the Biden administration. In the same month, Border Patrol officials had apprehended 209,906 suspected illegal immigrants, the most since 220,063 apprehensions were reported in March of 2000.
Those numbers are expected to increase once the Biden administration removes the Title 42 health authority over illegal immigrants. The policy, which is due to expire May 23, currently allows border authorities to quickly expel migrants without first hearing their asylum claims, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The months of March, April and May are traditionally when the number of attempted border crossings are at their highest.