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Migrant Humanitarian Crisis At Border In 'full-blown Emergency': DHS

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The Department of Homeland Security said the border security and humanitarian crisis caused by the influx of illegal migrants from across the border "are past the breaking point and in a full-blown emergency".

DHS reported a 140 percent increase in the number of illegal migrants arrested at the southern border in the first half of this year, compared to the corresponding period in 2018.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) made 688,375 apprehensions through the end of June, according to data released by Acting DHS Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan Tuesday.

DHS said 104,344 people who entered the U.S. from Mexico were arrested last month.

Although this is a 28 percent fall from May, numbers are still higher than last year's apprehensions.

"This situation should not be acceptable to any of us. I am proud of the men and women of DHS who are doing everything they can to achieve our humanitarian mission. However, in order for us to solve this crisis and to create lasting change at the border, we must address the vulnerabilities in our legal framework," McAleenan said in a statement.

He said a substantial increase in the number of interdiction on the Mexican southern border was made possible due to a new agreement that the Trump administration reached with Mexico.

DHS is working with the Government of Mexico to expand Migrant Protection Protocols to allow the U.S. to more effectively assist legitimate asylum-seekers and individuals fleeing persecution and deter migrants with false or meritless claims from making the journey, he added.

At the same time, the fall in the number of detentions compared to May will help the DHS to address capacity challenges for thousands of aliens in custody and speed up the transfer of unaccompanied children into Health and Human Services (HHS) care, McAleenan said.

The DHS data was published a day after the United Nations' human rights watchdog voiced its concern over US border agents holding migrant children in immigration detention camps or separated from their families.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on the U.S. Government to find "non-custodial alternatives" for migrant and refugee children as well as adults.

A recent "Management Alert" issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had highlighted the dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.

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