Record Migrant Group Tunnels Under Border Wall

The asylum seekers mostly come with minors
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2019 5:40 PM CST

(Newser) – A record-high group of migrants entered the US on Monday by tunneling under a border wall near San Luis, Arizona, ABC News reports. The 376 asylum seekers can be seen on US Border Patrol video walking along the border fence to be processed by agents in the Yuma area. "In my 30 years with the Border Patrol, I have not been part of arresting a group of 376 people," says CBP Yuma Border Sector Chief Anthony Porvaznik. "That's really unheard of." Most of the migrants entered via seven short tunnels dug by smugglers, while others climbed over the roughly 12-foot wall; their shoes' scuff marks could be seen on the rusty steel. ABC News calls it the biggest-ever migrant group to enter the US, while the Arizona Republic says it's a record for migrants crossing near Yuma.

While illegal border crossings have generally plunged since in 2001, they're up in Yuma—especially families with minors. "They know that if you travel with a child, or there's a child with you when you cross, then you have to be released within 20 days," says a rep for the Yuma CBP. "That's what these smugglers are relying on. And that's what these individuals are relying on." They also know the bollard-style fence doesn't have concrete footers to stop people from digging under, per KTLA. Mostly from Guatemala, the detainees are held in cinderblock cells before they're handed over to ICE within 72 hours. A new $172 million, 30-foot-tall fence is slated for nearby areas but is unlikely to stop tunnelers from digging into the sandy soil. (Meanwhile, President Trump has made a new offer to Democrats about his proposed border wall.)

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