(Original Article HERE)
There has been a sharp rise in the number of Central American families and unaccompanied minors entering the country illegally along the border with Mexico in the Yuma area of southwestern Arizona.
That area had been one of the quietest areas for crossings along the entire southern border.
But the recent spike suggests smuggling organizations have changed their routes to evade stepped-up immigration enforcement in Mexico, sending Central American migrants through other areas of the border beyond south Texas.
The Rio Grande Valley of south Texas remains the main entry point for a wave of Central American families and unaccompanied minors.
The vast majority are from three countries: Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Those countries are known as the Northern Triangle, where extreme gang violence has prompted many to flee, experts say.
The families are usually women with children. There are also still many minors traveling without parents. After entering the U.S. illegally, they typically turn themselves into Border Patrol agents in hopes of applying for asylum in the U.S.