Family Border Crossings Spiked in September: Report

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The number of families crossing the southwestern border into the U.S. illegally spiked last month, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Citing an unpublished report from the Department of Homeland Security, which has not released statistics on southwest border apprehensions for the month of September, the Post reports that 16,658 family units were apprehended by agents during that time, up from 12,774 in August. In July, 9,247 family units were arrested, according to government figures.

When reached by TIME, a press officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, whose agents patrol the U.S. border, did not comment on the report other than to reiterate that the agency has not yet released its figures.

The surge aligns with what TIME witnessed during a trip to the border in late September. The majority of the people that agents apprehended over the period of time that reporters were on the ground were unaccompanied children and family units.

The reported September spike comes as the Trump Administration is said to be considering a new policy that could result in more family separations. The Administration came under fire for a similar policy that was implemented in May, which resulted in the separation of nearly 3,000 children from their parents.

That policy was reversed via an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in June, but more than 200 separated children remain in federal custody.

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