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More Than 170,000 Migrants Taken Into Custody At Southwest Border In March

MISSION, TEXAS - MARCH 30: A group of migrants arrives in the U.S. after crossing the Rio Grande in a raft piloted by smugglers on March 30, 2021 in Roma, Texas. The group made up of individuals from El Salvador turned themselves into the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing as they seek asylum in the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A group of migrants from El Salvador arrives in Roma, Texas, after crossing the Rio Grande on March 30, 2021 in Roma, Texas.

More than 170,000 migrants were taken into custody at the Southwest border in March, the highest monthly total since at least 2006, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials who have been briefed on the preliminary numbers but are not authorized to speak publicly. The numbers are still being finalized and could change, the officials said. The number of migrants encountered at the border, including families as well as unaccompanied children and teenagers, has been increasing in recent months. In February, CBP reportedmore than 100,000 encounters. A CBP official also said Border Patrol agents have seen an increase in what they call "got aways," or unauthorized immigrants who are detected crossing the border by surveillance cameras but who agents have not been able to apprehend. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said the number of "got aways" has risen to about 1,000 a day. Agents say they are being diverted from enforcement operations to process the rising number of migrants in custody. Border Patrol facilities have been overwhelmed by the increase, and the Biden administration has been rushing to open new facilities to process the migrants. CBP announcedFriday the opening of a 90,000-square-foot processing facility in Eagle Pass, Texas.Children and teenagers arriving without their parents are being allowed into the U.S. But many of the migrants are being turned back under Title 42, the health order implementedby the Trump administration aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus, and some of the increase in recent months includes migrants crossing more than once. Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.