Larger groups seen crossing border as overall arrests drop

Yuli Arias left stands near a newly-replaced section of the border wall as her mother Esther Arias center stands in the family's house that was once threatened by construction along the border in Tijuana

Yuli Arias left stands near a newly-replaced section of the border wall as her mother Esther Arias center stands in the family's house that was once threatened by construction along the border in Tijuana

Customs and Border Protection says it made 58,207 arrests or denials of entry. There were almost 150 children, including 32 who were traveling alone.

Until recently, most people caught crossing the border illegally were men from Mexico, but now Central American families and unaccompanied minors make up some 60 percent of those apprehended, data from the agency show.

The group told officers that buses and trucks had dropped them off on the nearby highway, then the group crossed the border together at around 8 a.m.

"In many instances, criminal organizations are saturating areas with large groups with the belief that they can smuggle narcotics or other contraband into the United States while Border Patrol agents are occupied", according to the news release.

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Officials say a group of 325 Central Americans was taken into custody after illegally crossing the U.S. -Mexico border on Thursday morning. It's the second straight month-to-month decline.

Families and children traveling alone accounted for about 6 of every 10 stopped, mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Numerous migrants who may seek passage with smugglers in their journey through Mexico cross the border and turn themselves into US authorities to seek asylum in the United States, a drawn-out court process that can take months or years to resolve. Customs and Border Protection says medical attention was needed about 12,000 times for border crossers in the 12-month period ending September 30.

On Jan. 14, a group of 376 Central Americans was arrested near San Luis, Arizona, the vast majority of them Guatemalan families who dug short, shallow holes under a barrier to cross the border, according to authorities.

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