Border patrol arrests of migrant family members hit all-time high in September, DHS says

Migrant family arrests surge in September

A recent increase in migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico caused agitation at the White House this week and reportedly led to a heated shouting match between two of the president's top advisers

Border Patrol arrests of migrant families have been surging since the family separation policy ended earlier this year, with nearly 17,000 family members arrested in September. The Department of Homeland Security said that is the most on record for any month – and an 80 percent increase from July.

The recent surge is overwhelming government facilities and forcing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to quickly release migrants just hours after they're arrested. 

Family apprehensions by the U.S. Border Patrol in Arizona increased by 121 percent this year as compared to last.

In an interview with "60 Minutes," President Trump was reluctant to say whether he'd reinstate the family separation policy.

"When you allow the parents to stay together, OK, when you allow that, then what happens is people are gonna pour into our country," Mr. Trump said. "We're looking at a lot of things. Really what we want to do is change the immigration laws."

Parents told CBS News' Mireya Villarreal the administration's decision to pause the practice of separating families is one of the reasons they decided to cross the border now. 

One woman says a guide told her that she wasn't going to be separated from her child, which is the reason she traveled to the U.S. now. Once groups cross into the U.S. illegally, they are actively searching for agents so they can turn themselves in. Border Patrol says smugglers are taking advantage of the uncertainty.

"So they think it's a free ticket to the U.S.?" Villarreal asked U.S. Border Patrol agent Daniel Hernandez. "Well that's the perceived notion and that's what smugglers are telling them and what they're selling that journey as," he said.

The United Church of Christ is one of seven Tucson churches that have become temporary homes for migrant families just released by ICE.

"The gates just opened very suddenly. I think we got 800 people," said Pastor Delle McCormick.

The fight for asylum now moves to closed courts. In the meantime, the United Church of Christ's doors will remain open.