/ Modified oct 23, 2023 3:42 p.m.

Number of families coming to the border in 2023 grew, especially in Tucson region

In the 2023 fiscal year, Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector saw a surge in apprehensions of migrant families, as border officials across the nation apprehended more than 3.2 million unauthorized migrants, according to recently released federal data.

BP with Migrants Border Patrol agents process a group of nearly 250 migrants in Ajo, Arizona, on Wednesday, May 10.
Danyelle Khmara, AZPM

New data shows the highest number of migrant apprehensions at the border for at least the last two decades, according to federal data released over the weekend. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector continues to lead the nation in apprehensions.

Border officials across the nation apprehended unauthorized migrants more than 3.2 million times in fiscal year 2023. And officials in the Tucson Sector saw nearly 374,000 apprehensions.

While that was a record for the nation, Tucson Sector has seen more apprehensions than that in numerous other years.

Tucson Sector has led other parts of the border in the number of apprehensions since July, leading to street releases and strained resources.

Families make up a rapidly growing portion of the migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border. No where was this more apparent than in the Tucson Sector.

Families accounted for more than a third of the nearly 2.5 million migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2023, which ended with September.

The Tucson Sector saw the largest increase in families of any Southern border enforcement region. The percentage of families in the Tucson Sector increased from less than 7% of encounters in 2022 to more than 35% at nearly 132,000 people.

On top of that there were nearly 23,000 apprehensions in the sector of unaccompanied children.

Families primarily came from Mexico and Guatemala, followed by Ecuador, India, Colombia, Cuba and Peru.

Most of them turn themselves over to border officials hoping to seek asylum, but many are returned to Mexico or their home countries.

Border officials say that since May they have removed more than 300,000 migrants nationwide, including more than 45,000 family members. As well, they’ve removed more migrants crossing in families in the last four months than in any other full fiscal year.

Border officials also say that the only official way to seek asylum is through an app called CBP One, created by the Biden administration in January.

The number of appointments available under this program fall dramatically short of the need, but nearly 278,000 people have scheduled appointments through the app.

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