TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The number of people caught illegally crossing the southern border spiked significantly in the first full month of the Biden administration.
According to Customs and Border Protection, almost 97,000 people were apprehended in February. That’s up from 75,000 in January, and more than triple the number caught in February 2020. March has been the eighth straight month that apprehensions have been on the rise.
More than 14,600 migrants were detained crossing into the United States; that’s up 182% from the same time a year ago. And almost 1,400 of those were minors traveling alone. That number has increased 107% in the last year.
17-year-old Abel Morales is among hundreds of unaccompanied children crossing into the U.S. through unauthorized areas. “I was taken into detention and I was in there for 10 days,” said Morales.
Morales said he surrendered to Border Patrol officials after crossing through Sasabe on Feb. 22.
“While I was in detention, I saw a lot of kids, many traveling alone, many look just 13 years-old.”
Morales is now headed to Kentucky, where he will wait for his next court date for his asylum case and finally reuniting with his family.
“I feel very nervous, I feel very emotional. I haven’t seen my loved ones in years,” he said.
Morales’s message to those who may not agree with people like himself coming into the United States is to give them a chance.
“To please give people like us an opportunity, and let us reach our goals because where I come from, it’s impossible,” said Morales.