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Overall, illegal crossings at the southern border have dropped dramatically compared to previous decades but in recent years the number of families and unaccompanied children heading to the United States has increased.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a helicopter spotted the group amid freezing temperatures while investigating a possible campfire.

U.S. Border Patrol agents took another large group of migrants into custody Friday morning near the remote Antelope Wells border crossing in southwest New Mexico. There were almost 150 children, including 32 who were traveling alone.

The group was taken to the nearest Border Patrol facility for processing. It was the second straight monthly decline, though arrests typically fall from December to January.

The 290 migrants included people from Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras.

Numerous migrants who may seek passage with smugglers in their journey through Mexico cross the border and turn themselves into USA authorities to seek asylum in the United States, a drawn-out court process that can take months or years to resolve. The impasse led to a five-week partial government shutdown that ended when Trump agreed to reopen the government until February 15.

The large percentage of families and young children has stretched US authorities, even more in remote areas where staffing is thinner. Customs and Border Protection says medical attention was needed about 12,000 times for border crossers in the 12-month period ending September 30.

Once the entire group arrived, they crossed the border together at 8 a.m., where they would wait to surrender to authorities.

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