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Yuma saw increased number of border apprehensions so far this year

(Facebook/Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

PHOENIX — While a majority of the southwest U.S.-Mexico border saw a decrease in apprehensions over the past year, part of Arizona’s southern border has seen an increase.

The number of families detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in the Yuma sector so far this fiscal year — October 2017 to January — increased 21 percent compared to the same time frame a year ago.

More than 4,400 family units were arrested while trying to cross the border illegally near Yuma over that time period, according to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In the Tucson sector, however, the number of apprehensions decreased.

The number of apprehended family units decreased 13 percent over the past year, from 1,371 in fiscal year 2017 to 1,195 in fiscal year 2018.

The number of unaccompanied minors apprehended in Tucson also decreased four percent over the past year, from 1,888 in fiscal year 2017 to 1,816 in fiscal year 2018.

Meanwhile, the rest of the southwest border saw a decrease in apprehensions of both families and minors trying to cross into the U.S. alone — a 53 percent decrease.

In a statement, Tyler Q. Houlton, the acting press secretary with the Department of Homeland Security, said the department saw an “unacceptable number” of minors and family units “flood” the border this month due to “catch and release loopholes.”

Houlton — like President Donald Trump has done in the past — also singled out the MS-13 gang and used its crimes to push for stronger immigration laws.

“To secure our borders and make America safer, Congress must act to close these legal loopholes that have created incentives for illegal immigrants and are being exploited by dangerous transnational criminal organizations like MS-13,” he said.

“The administration will continue to work with Congress to pass its responsible, fair and pro-American immigration framework that provides funding for the border wall system, ends chain migration and the diversity visa lottery, and creates a permanent solution for DACA.”

KTAR News’ Griselda Zetino contributed to this report. 

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