U.S. border authorities are predicting the number of undocumented migrants stopped at the southern border could reach as high as 1 million by the end of the year, potentially doubling last year’s level, federal officials told ABC News on Tuesday.
The estimate, which includes illegal crossings and people arriving at ports of entry, comes as administration officials say they have limited options when it comes to deterring families traveling with children. The influx has gotten so bad at places like El Paso, Texas, that the central processing center there was 395 percent over capacity last weekend, forcing officials to process people beneath a street overpass.
“The numbers are trending from bad to worse, which is why we need Congress to act to fix outdated laws to address migrant flows,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted Tuesday.
Nielsen met with government officials from Mexico Tuesday and was planning a trip to Honduras to meet with foreign leaders there this week.
Kevin McAleenan, head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, canceled his testimony before Congress on Wednesday to travel to the Texas-Mexico border, a congressional staffer said.
Federal officials told ABC News they predict there will be some 95,000 attempted crossings in March and possibly 100,000 in April. That would put attempted crossings at more than half a million — about the same number as in the entire 2018 budget year — with several months to go.