Border Patrol officials begin releasing migrant families in Arizona

Border Patrol agents have begun releasing migrant families in Arizona as the Trump administration battles overcrowding in migrant detention facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Families of migrants were released into the streets of Yuma, Ariz., according to the Arizona Republic, due to increased numbers of families including small children apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along the border.

"U.S. Border Patrol processing centers are not designed to house the current numbers of families and small children that we are encountering," Border Patrol officials from the Yuma sector said, according to the newspaper.

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"Due to capacity issues at our stations and the ongoing humanitarian crisis nationwide, Border Patrol has begun identifying detainees for potential release in Yuma with a notice to appear for their immigration hearings," the statement reads.

The move follows a similar decision last week by authorities to begin releasing migrant families in Texas's Rio Grande Valley. As many as 250 migrants were released in two groups last week, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Yuma officials have apprehended 17,578 migrants in family units so far this fiscal year, according to the Arizona Republic, putting the year on track to be the heaviest year of border apprehensions since 2007.

“It’ll continue right now, there is not an end date established," Border Patrol deputy chief Carl Landrum reportedly said. "Until we can actually maintain the capacity ... We've been over capacity about 200 percent for the past two years.”

CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters this week that the agency is at a "breaking point" dealing with illegal border crossings.

“Two weeks ago, I briefed the media and testified in Congress that our immigration system was at the breaking point. That breaking point has arrived this week at our border," he said.

"CBP is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our Southwest Border and nowhere has that crisis manifested more acutely than here in El Paso,” McAleenan continued.