U.S. Customs and Border Protection will suspend operations on international railway crossing bridges in Texas cities near the southern border due to the recent resurgence in smuggling groups using freight trains to transport migrants from Mexico to the U.S.
CBP officials released a statement on Sunday stating that beginning at 8 am on December 18, the Office of Field Operations of the agency will suspend operations on the international railway crossings bridges at Eagle Pass and El Paso in Texas to redirect personnel to help the U.S. Border Patrol take migrants into custody.
The statement stated that “CBP continues to increase all resources available to safely process migrants as a response to the increased number of migrant encounters along the Southwest Border. This is fueled by smugglers who spread disinformation to exploit vulnerable individuals.” CBP has taken additional steps to address the recent resurgence in smuggling groups moving migrants via freight trains through Mexico. This is being done by authorities in Mexico.
This move comes days after video footage showed thousands of migrants lined up on railroad tracks, as a train traveled nearly three hours south from Eagle Pass, Texas.
The Border Patrol is overwhelmed by the unprecedented number of migrants that arrived on a single Tuesday.
In the week before, 12,000 migrants were reported to have been encountered in a single day. This was a record-breaking number, and agents on the ground were overwhelmed.
CBP plans to change its operational plans to increase enforcement against non-citizens of the U.S. attempting to enter the country illegally or using processes. This also includes those who are still in the U.S. on an unlicensed basis.
CBP’s statement stated that “over the past few weeks, CBP made several adjustments to its operations to improve our ability to respond to incidents, enforce consequences, and process them.” “In Eagle Pass the vehicular processing is still suspended on Eagle Pass International Bridge 1 San Ysidro Pedestrian West Operations in San Diego, California remain suspended. Lukeville Port of Entry in Arizona remains closed.
Biden’s administration is still under fire from Republicans, Democrats, and state and local officials for not providing enough resources to address the border crisis.
In defense of the administration, it said that it was dealing with a crisis affecting all of the hemispheres and had requested more funding from Congress and comprehensive immigration reform to fix what they called a “broken system”.
The administration requested $14 billion from Congress in emergency funding, including $1.4 billion to provide “sheltering and services” to migrants released from DHS custody. This money comes on top of the $800 million that was given to non-governmental and state organizations to deal with the large number of migrants who were released in the U.S.
This funding has stalled, however, in Congress, as Republican legislators demanded more restrictions on asylum and humane parole. Some Democrats, however, have rejected this demand.
Biden, the Biden administration, and Senate Democrats have been in talks to resolve the gridlock. Biden said that he was open to “significant concessions.”
White House has expressed an openness to restrictions including Title 42-style removal authorities and expanded detention. However, it is not clear whether this would be enough to gain the support of Democrats, or Republicans, including those in Congress.