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WATCH: Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing on human trafficking at U.S. southern border

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s response to people smuggling at the southern border.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, former U.S. Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher, American Academy of Pediatrics Immigrant Health Special Interest Group Co-Chair Julie Linton, and Operation Underground Railroad founder and CEO Timothy Ballard were scheduled to testify.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday it is building a new facility in El Paso, Texas, to help manage the ever-growing number of families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

During a news conference, McAleenan says the facility will be a centralized location where migrants can get proper medical screenings and care. But he says it is a temporary measure and the system can’t support the increase in families, because they require specialized care and cannot be easily returned over the border.

Since January, nearly 100,000 families have been apprehended between ports of entry. From October through September 2018, about the same number of families was apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. There were about 400,000 arrests overall in the 2018 budget year.

McAleenan says families are crossing the border in dangerously rural locations at great risk to their health. Two children died in Border Patrol custody in the past few months.

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