Border Patrol agents rescued a family trying to enter Texas by crossing the Rio Grande, saving adults and several children from the river.
Photos taken from the Mexican side of the river in the town of Piedras Negras show agents in an airboat in the river hauling children and two adults aboard after they were nearly swept away by swift currents.
The desperate family, believed to be from Honduras, was then taken into custody Sunday and given medical treatment.
Border officials said they saw an abrupt drop-off in illegal crossings during the holiday season — but the number of Central American migrants arriving in family groups has returned to record levels since then, records show.
During the first week of January, when Christmas was still being celebrated in Mexico and Central America, the number of migrants nabbed by agents fell to about 200 on some days, according to Customs and Border Protection data. But by mid-January, the number of family members arriving jumped to as high as 1,400 a day.
And smugglers began bringing groups of 300 or more parents and children to border crossings in Arizona and New Mexico.
A CBP official told reporters Friday that about 75 percent of the family members detained in January arrived during the second half of the month.
Overall, CBP carried out 58,207 arrests and detentions in January, down 4 percent over the previous month.
Meanwhile, the partisan fight over border security showed no signs of abating Monday, with President Trump slamming Democrats as a bipartisan group of lawmakers struggled to cut a deal that he would sign.
Speaking to reporters Monday at the White House, Trump said Democrats were ignoring what’s happening at the border.
“We’re up against people who want to allow criminals in our society,” he said.
Democrats want to cut the current number of beds ICE uses to detain all immigrants here illegally from 40,520 to 35,520.
They’ve also proposed limiting the number to 16,500 for illegal immigrants caught within the United States, a move they argue would force ICE to focus on detaining only dangerous criminals.
Matt Albence, the acting deputy director of ICE and an immigration hard-liner, told reporters during a conference call Monday that all of the roughly 20,000 to 22,000 illegal immigrants arrested in the interior who are being detained are classified as criminals because they are undocumented.
Albence was asked several times what percentage of those detained had been convicted of a violent crime, but did not provide a number.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, urged Democrats to make concessions as Congress raced to avoid another partial government shutdown on Friday.
McConnell complained Monday that Democrats are asking for too much from Republicans in the negotiations over Trump’s long-promised wall.
The president’s supporters say he could use executive powers to divert money from the federal budget for wall construction, although it’s unclear if he would face challenges in Congress or the courts.
Trump’s campaign issued a new video Monday calling for a border wall. The video offered testimonials from residents of El Paso, Texas — where Trump was speaking Monday night — advocating for a wall along the US-Mexico border.
They said the wall is needed for public safety, arguing that El Paso’s border fence has helped the city.
The video concluded with the slogan “Finish the Wall,” an update on the “Build the Wall” chants that defined Trump’s 2016 campaign.