Claudia Maquin, 27, shows a photo of her daughter, Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin in Raxruha, Guatemala, on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. The 7-year-old girl died in a Texas hospital, two days after being taken into custody by border patrol agents in a remote stretch of New Mexico desert. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

Officials baffled by large migrant groups at remote crossing

December 18, 2018 - 2:49 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. immigration officials say hundreds of migrants are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in a desolate New Mexico region that until recently had seen barely any traffic.

They say it appears to be a smuggling route.

It is where 7-year-old Jakelin Caal and her father were found Dec. 6 along with more than 160 others. Caal started vomiting on the bus ride to the Border Patrol facility some 90 miles away from where they were taken into custody. She later died.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan addressed reporters from the Lordsburg, New Mexico station. He says agents picked up 257 people on Dec. 16 and 239 in the last 24 hours.

That's compared with eight groups larger than 100 people in any area of the border last year.