Title 42 is still valid for a few more days, but tell that to people in El Paso, Texas who saw thousands of migrants cross the border over the weekend. The facilities that house the illegal immigrants are overcrowded, and officials, overwhelmed with the sheer numbers pouring across the border, are releasing hundreds of the undocumented into the city’s neighborhoods. This couldn’t happen at a worse time with holiday travel gearing up while migrants crowd the local airport waiting to be transported around the country. Is this a glimpse of what the Southern border should expect in the coming months, or is it to become the way of things as long as Democrats hold office and support open border type policies?
Thousands of Migrants Cross Into El Paso
Over the weekend, in just a 24-hour time span, more than 2,600 migrants crossed into the El Paso area. Reports describe the scene as a mile-long line of illegals stretching from the border barrier and around the river. “Small bonfires burned on the concrete that lines the riverbank,” The Texas Tribune described. The outlet explained:
“On Sunday [Dec. 11], more than 1,000 migrants, many from Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, crossed the Rio Grande between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. in one of the largest mass crossings in recent memory.”
And that was only during a four-hour period on Sunday; many more trekked into the US on Friday and Saturday as well. Immigration officials released 1,744 undocumented travelers into El Paso over the weekend. There weren’t enough beds at the non-government shelters, however, so 611 of them ended up on the streets. Migrants grabbed Red Cross blankets and used cardboard to sleep wherever they could find space, competing with the thousands of homeless in the area. So, what caused this sudden influx of people?
Lax immigration policies are at least partially to blame, for sure, but just before the crossing, Mexican police guided around 20 buses with migrants into Ciudad Juarez, which is just across from El Paso. From there, the people simply crossed illegally into El Paso. Ruben Garcia is the director of Annunciation House, a nonprofit that provides shelter to those seeking asylum. He commented that “A very large number of people arrived – a huge, huge number.”
On Monday, December 12, around 100 migrants were waiting for flights at the El Paso International Airport. Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said: “We have a large number of people already at the airport awaiting flights. It’s only going to continue to get backlogged during the travel season, holiday season.” He continued:
“With that, we are going to have to send people to other transportation hubs. Pre-staging, rearranging their flights out of Dallas or Denver whatever city we can get to close that has the capacity – we’ll be sending them there so they can fly or bus out of there.”
To make matters even worse, President Joe Biden decided to pull air marshals from flights so that they could babysit the influx of illegals instead of protecting air security, leaving less than 1% of airlines with marshals aboard.
El Paso is a popular border crossing from Mexico. In October, there were at least 53,000 encounters recorded by agents, and there were nearly 2.4 million along the border this year. This number does not include the ones that got away, managing to sneak in undetected. This section along the Southern border sees more activity than any other, so it is especially worrisome that the rising number of illegal crossings continues to grow.
Many have accused Biden and the Democrats for their somewhat open border policy of causing this mass migration. It only makes matters worse that Nicaraguans are not easily prevented from entering the US because of diplomatic reasons. “Mexico will not accept them, and the Biden administration cannot send repatriation flights,” The New York Times reported. “As a result, most of the Nicaraguans apprehended are released on a short-term parole with a tracking device or sent briefly to Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention, where they are typically released after a few days.”
One likely explanation for the spike in Nicaraguans crossing into the US is that smugglers change their customer bases, according to officials who have witnessed such tactics. “In the case of El Paso, the Nicaraguan crossings follow the decrease in Venezuelans crossing after they began to face penalties in October,” The Times wrote.
D’Agostino said, “There is a big heart here, there’s a big desire in our community” to help migrants. “There’s also just not enough to handle this type of load, so we have to be cognizant of that. Our infrastructure cannot keep up, there are not enough flights, there’s not enough bus transport out of town on a daily basis to allow same-day travel.” This year, the city claims to have spent $9.2 million on services for migrants but has only received $2.2 million in federal reimbursement.
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