(CNN) – Families who illegally crossed the US-Mexico border in December reached a record for the fourth consecutive month, according to data from customs and border protection obtained from CNN.
This occurs when the Trump government affirmed that there is a humanitarian crisis on the southern border, with the president giving a speech to the country Tuesday night to convince the country and Congress that a physical barrier is needed.
In December, the US border patrol arrested 27,518 family members, 240% more than in December 2017, which had 8,120 arrests. The government uses these detentions at the border to measure illegal crossings. Since August, there has been a steady increase in family arrests, when 12,760 family members were arrested.
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Kevin McAlleenan, Commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP), told ABC News late last month that his agency needs a barrier to push illegal drug trafficking to areas that can be better controlled, but "money to provide a better process, an approach" is also needed ". In December, 65% of CBP crosses came from families and children, told ABC News this week.
"We do not want them in the border patrol stations, we want them to be in a better situation for these vulnerable populations we are seeing," he added.
Total arrests have remained stable in recent months, but have slightly decreased from 51,856 in November to 50,752 in December. Historically, border arrests tend to decline in December during the holidays and when the weather gets worse.
In his first official speech to the nation from the oval office, Trump described the situation along the US-Mexico border on Tuesday as a threat to national security, citing a wave of apprehension. While family crossings increase, illegal crossings generally remain historically low. In the early and mid-2000s, over 100,000 migrants were illegally detained while crossing the southern border. 2006 was the last year in which annual statistics show that more than a million people were arrested while illegally crossing the southern border.
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The administration refused to surrender its $ 5.7 billion loan request for the border wall. Administration officials cited increases in the number of seizures, drug seizures on the southern border and an increase in asylum applications as a reason for further barriers along the southern border.
The issue of illegal border crossings by families and children took on new urgency in December, after two children died after being detained by the CBP. Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, died less than 48 hours after being arrested by the Border Patrol. He had traveled with his father more than 3,200 kilometers from his community of origin in northern Guatemala. And an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy, Felipe Gómez Alonzo, died on Christmas Eve after being arrested with his father by the border police.
Following the deaths, the CBP completed secondary child medical examinations in the custody of the border patrol and in the US Coast Guard medical assistance teams. They arrived at the border.