/ Modified jan 27, 2024 6:48 p.m.

December breaks record for migrant apprehensions

New data shows that December was a record for the number of times Border Patrol apprehended migrants entering the US unauthorized, with the highest number being in the Tucson Sector at more than 80,000 apprehensions.

Lukeville migrants 3 Migrants wait to be processed by border patrol outside of Lukeville, Arizona, on Dec. 5, 2023.
Danyelle Khmara

Border Patrol apprehended more than 370,000 migrants nationwide in December, the highest number of apprehensions since at least the year 2000, according to federal data out Friday.

Although people are coming from many parts of the world, the largest home country is still Mexico, with large numbers of families fleeing Southern Mexico during an increase in cartel violence.

Pedro De Velasco with the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora, says 75% of the migrants they serve are from Mexico, with the vast majority fleeing the southern state of Guerrero.

“The cartels are pretty much running towns,” he said. “If you produce your land or have a carpenter workshop or you’re a mechanic, whatever you’re doing, you have to pay this fee just to be able to run your business. And then they tell us if you have kids, as soon as your kid is 12 or 14 years old, they come and say he now has to come work for us.”

Border Patrol apprehended nearly 40,000 Mexican nationals in the Tucson Sector in December, 70% of which were families and unaccompanied minors.

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