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Waves of migrant parents and children enter overtaxed system

March 21, 2019

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) — Waves of desperate families are trying to cross the U.S. border with Mexico almost hourly and entering an overtaxed government detention system.

The Border Patrol says it made about 66,000 apprehensions of people crossing the border illegally in February, including 36,000 parents and children. That’s an all-time monthly high.

Feeding and caring for the migrants has fallen almost entirely on the Border Patrol, a single law enforcement agency.

The agency announced this week that it would start releasing some families in far South Texas with notices to appear in immigration court due to overcrowding in its facilities.

Authorities expect the number of parents and children to surpass 50,000 in March and potentially reach 180,000 in May.

Robert Perez is deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He calls the situation “an unprecedented crisis.”

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Associated Press writer Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.