News Roundup: Border Officials Apprehend An Unprecedented Number Of Migrants Traveling Together

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Kristen CabreraMay 31, 2019 5:12 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Border officials apprehended an unprecedented number of migrants traveling as a group on Wednesday.

Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall reports on how large clusters of border crossers are becoming increasingly common.

Border Patrol took into custody a group of more than 1,000 migrants after they were found crossing the border into El Paso, Texas. It’s the largest single group apprehended on record, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Migrants came from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Most were traveling in family units.

Officials say finding these large groups was once rare. Now it’s becoming increasingly common.

Agents have apprehended 180 groups of more than 100 migrants so far this fiscal year. That’s compared to 13 groups last year.

Officials say smugglers may be using large groups as a distraction to pull resources away from other parts of the border.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins Saturday.

Dr. Gerry Bell is with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. He says they expect a near-normal season in 2019.

“But that’s a lot of activity we’re expecting 9-15 named storms, of which 4-8 are expected to become hurricane, and 2-4 of those are expected to become major hurricanes,” Bell says.

There were 15 named storms in 2018, eight hurricanes, and two major hurricanes – which hit North Carolina and Florida.

Bell says there’s no way of telling yet whether any of the anticipated storms would make landfall in Texas.

“The reason we don’t predict hurricane landfalls for the season as a whole, is that where a hurricane strikes, how strong it is, when it strikes, and so on, that really depends on the weather patterns that are in place at the time the hurricane is approaching //and you just cannot predict those weather patterns this far in advance,” Bell says.

Mark Hanna, with the Insurance Council of Texas, says now is the time for Texans on the coast to come up with an evacuation plan.

“And if you have a category three or four hurricane bearing down on the Texas coast, this is not some place you want to be,” Hanna says. “You want to get many, many miles inland, and an evacuation plan is something – it includes the entire family, a lot of communication, and getting important papers and things you’re going to need for what could be a week or two-week trip.”

Hanna says Hurricane Harvey, which struck in 2017, caused $20 billion in insured losses in Texas. Uninsured losses are thought to be much larger – as high as $100 billion.

Three North Texas students are among the eight co-winners of the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee  – the most co-winners in the competition’s 94-year history. Abhijay Kodali, 12 of Flower Mound, Rohan Raja, 13 of Irving and Sohum  Sukhantankar, 13, of Dallas will each receive the full prize of $50,000 and their own trophy.