Families crossing illegally at the US-Mexico border in December reached a record high for the fourth month in a row, according to Customs and Border Protection data obtained by CNN.
This comes as the Trump administration has been claiming a humanitarian crisis on the southern border, with President Donald Trump giving an address to the nation Tuesday night to convince the country and Congress that a physical border barrier is needed to deal with the situation.
In December, US Border Patrol arrested 27,518 family members, up nearly 240% from last December, which had 8,120 arrests. Arrests on the border are used by the government as a measure of illegal crossings. There has been a steady upswing in family arrests since August, when 12,760 family members were apprehended.
CBP Commissioner Kevin McAlleenan told ABC News late last month that the department needs a barrier to help push illegal drug traffic into areas that can be better controlled, but also needs “money to provide a better process, a different approach for families and children crossing.” In December, 65% of CBP crossings were families and children, he told ABC News’ “This Week.”
“We don’t want them in Border Patrol stations, we want them in a better scenario for these vulnerable populations that we’re seeing,” he added.
Total arrests have remained steady for the past few months, but dipped slightly from 51,856 in November to 50,753 in December. Historically, border arrests tend to drop in December during the holidays and as the weather turns colder.