EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The permanence of Title 42, cold weather, the holiday season and the arrival of 600 Army National Guard troops to El Paso.
Those are the factors U.S. immigration officials say led to a substantial drop in unauthorized migrant arrivals in Far West Texas and Southern New Mexico in late December – and to a corresponding decrease in the number of foreign nationals at El Paso Sector processing centers.
Border agents in mid-December had their hands full, apprehending an average of 2,150 unauthorized migrants per day and caring for more than 4,000 foreign nationals, and that was as a Dec. 21 deadline for the Biden administration to do away with Title 42 expulsions approached and Central and South American migrants arrived in Juarez by bus, airplane, train, and contractor vans.
But the federal judge who struck down Title 42 postponed its termination until Dec. 27, and then the U.S. Supreme Court put the end of the Trump-era public health rule on hold, possibly through June. Days earlier, the Texas Army National Guard had set up a barbwire barrier at a popular migrant crossing point along the Rio Grande.
Migrant crossings have dropped at times under 1,000 per day since then, according to the City of El Paso’s migrant dashboard. The Border Patrol closed the month of December with an average of 1,800 daily apprehensions.
“The decrease in daily encounters, in addition to the support received by the city and county leaders, has led to a significant decrease of those migrants held in custody at the Central Processing Center. The last week of December saw an average of 1,450 migrants in custody throughout at our CBP/USBP processing facilities,” the Border Patrol told Border Report on Tuesday.
Releases of paroled migrants also have dropped. On Tuesday, the city was reporting 341 community releases and none of them involved leaving people out on the street.
Nonprofit facilities that usually receive paroled migrants told Border Report they have noticed the decrease, but still need help to cope with the volume.
“Before the holidays, the Opportunity Center for the Homeless was overwhelmed with a request for services from international homeless. Recently, the three emergency shelters have seen a decrease in the number of individuals requesting our services. Last night we comfortably accommodated 128 men in our Men’s Resource Center and 130 individuals, including families with small children, in the Welcome Center,” said John Martin, deputy director for the organization.
Despite the decreased number of migrant guests, the Opportunity Center is still overcapacity and welcomes community support.
“We remind the community that we still need blankets, jackets, and hygiene items. Individuals can also make monetary donations online on our secure website,” Martin said.
In Juarez, Human Rights Office Director Santiago Gonzalez Reyes said only 50 migrants arrived at the Kiki Romero municipal shelter between Sunday and Monday.