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Large group of African migrants overwhelm border agents as they enter the U.S. from Mexico

June 03, 2019 at 11:00 am | News

Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei | Contributor

June 03, 2019 at 11:00 am | News

A group of migrants hold up their hands as U.S. border patrol officers detained them after they entered the United States illegally by jumping over the border fence between Mexico and the United States, from Tijuana, Mexico, November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

U.S. border authorities were overwhelmed by a group of 116 illegal migrants from Africa who were caught on the night of May 30 near the border crossing in Del Rio, Texas.

This was the first time border officials have seen a large group of migrants from Africa taking advantage of the large-group tactic Central American migrants have learned to abuse, an official told the Washington Times.

The Customs and Border Protection agency said the group included migrantsfrom Angola, Cameroon and Congo and it was the first time such a single large group from Africa has been encountered.

They comprised of children and families who were attempting to use the loophole discovered by Central Americans to enter the country illegally and escape deportation, reports WT.

Instead of presenting themselves at the port of entry, the migrants jumped the border, reports stated. Surveillance video released by the authorities showed the migrants crossing the Rio Grande as adults carried little children in water that us up to their waist while pulling other children alongside.

The authorities could not say the routes the African migrants used but they marked the 182nd large group since October 1 and the first African group to cross the border. All of them were declared healthy after screening.

Across all the U.S. borders, 4,500 people are caught every day, said Homeland Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

African migrants are known to enter into the U.S. by air and the major problem the country is facing with migrants from the continent is the overstaying of visas.

2006 report by the Pew Research Center estimated that up to 45 per cent of the undocumented population entered the country on a valid visa, but did not depart. According to the organization’s latest analysis, about 11 million undocumented immigrants reside in the U.S.

The Donald Trump administration has threatened to impose travel restrictions on some countries including those from Africa who have a higher percentage of visitors who have overstayed their tourist or business visas.

It is significant to note that many of the countries whose citizens have the highest rates of overstaying their visas are African nations like Chad, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Liberia, Somalia, and South Sudan.

In some of these African countries, armed conflicts and brutal regimes are rife, thus, many of its citizens seek asylum in the U.S. Statistics from the United States Department of Homeland Security, however, show that the total number of people these African countries send to the U.S. each year is, in fact, very small.

In 2017, for instance, 16 per cent of visitors from Somalia overstayed their visas, but that 16 per cent represents only 24 total people. For the United Kingdom that has a low overstay rate, only 0.54 per cent of visitors overstayed their visas that same year, however, that percentage represents over 25,690 people.

The Homeland Security Department counted 701,900 overstays of non-immigrant visas in the fiscal year 2017, representing 1.3 per cent of all short-term visitors to the U.S. in that year.

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