Most of the migrants are Central American families and unaccompanied minors, and their numbers have grown by 340 percent — about 136,150 family units were apprehended on the southwest border between October and February, compared to 31,100 families during the same period the year before, according to CBP statistics.

And here in El Paso, the local Border Patrol sector saw its family unit apprehension numbers jump 1,698 percent over that same period. By last month, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection predicted it would hit a 12-year high with more than 100,000 apprehensions across the border, so many migrants were coming through El Paso that agents set up a military style tent surrounded by chain link under a freeway bridge to hold the overflow.

The surge has led CBP to redirect 750 agents from their positions at the ports of entry to help Border Patrol process the migrants, and it fed President Donald Trump’s recent threats to close the southern border — a move that even members of Trump’s own party have said would wreak havoc on the country’s economy.