WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on border protection along the U.S.-Mexico border (all times local):
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is building a new facility in El Paso, Texas, to help manage the ever-growing number of families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Commissioner Kevin McAleenan says the facility will be a centralized location where migrants can get proper medical screenings and care. But he says it is a temporary measure and the system can't support the increase in families, because they require specialized care and cannot be easily returned over the border.
Since January, nearly 100,000 families have been apprehended between ports of entry. From October through September 2018, about the same number of families was apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. There were about 400,000 arrests overall in the 2018 budget year.
McAleenan says families are crossing the border in dangerously rural locations at great risk to their health. Two children died in Border Patrol custody in the past few months.
Firearms use by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents is on the decline.
According to data obtained by The Associated Press, there were 15 instances in which officers and agents used firearms during the budget year 2018. That's down from a high of 55 during the 2012 budget year and down from 17 in the budget year 2017.
Despite cases where agents used tear gas on migrants that included children, instances of less-lethal force like tear gas and batons are also down to 898. That's a decrease from the high in 2013 of 1,168.
Data also shows officers and agents facing an increase in the number of assaults. They are also encountering an increasing number of families crossing the border.