In a dusty lot along the U.S.-Mexico border fence, a single Border Patrol agent was stuck with few options and falling temperatures.
A group of 64 parents and children had waded through a shallow bend in the Rio Grande to turn themselves in to the agent on the U.S. side. He radioed for a van driver, but there were none available. By 2 a.m., the temperature was 44 degrees.
The agent handed out plastic space blankets. The group would have to wait.
Mothers and fathers swaddled their families in the silvery, crinkling sheets and clustered with them on the ground, shushing the children. They shivered in the cold wind, and the sound of crying carried on, like a broken alarm.
Groups like this arrived again and again in February, one of the coldest and busiest months along the southern border in years. U.S. authorities detained more than 70,000 migrants last month, according to preliminary figures, up from 58,000 in January. The majority were Central American parents with children who arrived, again, in unprecedented numbers.
During a month when the border debate was dominated by the fight over President Trump’s push for a wall, unauthorized migration in fiscal 2019 is on pace to reach its highest level in a decade. Department of Homeland Security officials say they expect the influx to swell in March and April, months that historically see large increases in illegal crossings as U.S. seasonal labor demand rises.
Read the rest at: Border Crisis