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DHS: Number of migrant families at border hit record in August

The number of migrant families apprehended at the U.S. Southern border hit record numbers in August, prompting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to raise concerns about the "gaps" in the country's "legal framework" around immigration.

The number of family units apprehended increased by 40 percent between July and August, reaching a record total of 12,774, according to numbers released on Wednesday by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Families represented 34 percent of those apprehended, compared to an average of 25 percent of all crossings throughout the year.

A total of 37,544 individuals were apprehended between at the border in August, a significant uptick from the 31,299 in July and 34,091 in June. 

There was a slight increase in the number of people apprehended who were deemed inadmissible, from 8,650 in July to 9,016 in August. Inadmissible individuals include those seeking humanitarian protection, those who return to their home countries by their own accord, and those seeking lawful admission but who are determined to be inadmissible by immigration authorities. 

The DHS press secretary in a statement said the increasing number of families apprehended indicates a "broken" immigration system, specifically calling out the ban against detaining children for more than 20 days.

"We know that the vast majority of family units who have been released, despite having no right to remain in any legal status, fail to ever depart or be removed," DHS said in a statement. "Through the third quarter of FY 2018, only 1.4 percent of family units have been repatriated to their home country from noncontiguous countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras." 

President Trump in June signed an executive order ending his administration's so-called "zero tolerance" policy. The policy drew widespread outrage after reports emerged that it had led to the separation of more than 2,500 children from their parents at the border. 

As of August, there were still more than 500 children who were separated from their families that remained in U.S. custody, despite a July 26 deadline set by a federal judge for the reunification of all those separated at the border. 

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