EL PASO, TX (KVIA/CNN) - Customs and Border Protection said that authorities detained close to 1,000 Central American migrants in El Paso on Wednesday.
That included an unaccompanied 2-year-old child.
Officials told local media Wednesday's activity set a record for the number of immigrant families crossing into the city.
According to the Red Cross, some 6,000 migrants are believed to be on the other side of the border in Juarez.
Members of the "Hope Border Institute" advocacy group were on site handing out food and water through the border fence.
"They're hungry, they haven't had anything to drink, there's a couple dozen children with them,” said Dylan Corbett, the group’s executive director. “They're not equipped to be spending days and nights here on the doorstep of our country. They're on U.S. soil. They want to turn themselves in, they're waiting on Border Patrol.”
“We need to see them act,” he added.
One Border Patrol agent said he noticed some migrants are now immediately requesting asylum, before even being processed.
“They know what to say, or they’re being coached, is our educated guess,” a border patrol agent, George Gomez, told KVIA. “Based on the interviews that we’re having with these individuals, it seems a lot of them already know the process or they’re being coached as to what to say in order to get to that second step.”
CBP says migrants are crossing the border in “record numbers.” The agency says it has seen a 300 percent increase in the current number of family units crossing illegally compared to this time last year.
According to official statistics, there have been more than 268,000 apprehensions at the border since October.