EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection is rushing additional border agents to El Paso and reassigning officers from customs duties to deal with a new migrant spike in the region.
“(CBP’s) El Paso Sector on the Texas border with Mexico has seen an increase in encounters. In order to process individuals as safely and expeditiously as possible, U.S. Border Patrol agents from Big Bend and CBP officers from the El Paso Field Office are assisting with processing,” CBP said in a statement Monday morning.
Between 1,500 and 2,100 migrants have walked to the Mexican banks of the Rio Grande in Juarez, Mexico, since late Saturday night and made their way across to El Paso, Texas, where they have turned themselves over to border agents in hopes of getting asylum in the U.S.
Most are part of a caravan that made its way into Chihuahua state on Friday and were bused by Mexican officials to Juarez a day later.
The migrants are being pre-screened at the Border Patrol’s West Bridge camp a few feet from the Rio Grande. They are then bused to CBP’s Central Processing Center in Northeast El Paso, where they are held until federal officials decide if they will be paroled with notices to appear in U.S. immigration court later, or will be expelled from the United States under the Title 42 public order.
That’s in addition to the hundreds of migrants apprehended daily trying to evade capture by Border Patrol in a sector that stretches from Hudspeth County, Texas, to the New Mexico-Arizona state line.
On Monday, El Paso nonprofit shelters were bracing for additional migrant releases. Some shelter operators told KTSM they were at capacity even before the migrant caravan began making its way across the border.
According to the City of El Paso migrant dashboard, CBP last week encountered an average of 1,845 migrants per day in the region and was holding an average of 4,634 at its Central Processing Center. The last single-day report was 2,399 migrant apprehensions, with the CPC having 5,100 in custody.
“Breaking! Over the weekend, the El Paso Sector experienced a major surge in illegal crossings, with a 3-day average of 2,460 daily encounters, primarily through the downtown area of El Paso. We will continue to keep the public informed as the situation evolves,” U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector Acting Chief Peter Jaquez said in a tweet on Monday.
The number of community releases (paroled migrants) was even higher, with a weekly average of 6,950. Those released may have been in custody for one or more days.
El Paso County officials on Monday said they were processing 500 parole migrants at their assistance center – a building where newly released foreign nationals can get a meal, call relatives or make travel arrangements online. County Judge Ricardo Samaniego expects that number to go up to 1,000 early next year once the county brings a bigger facility on line.
The City of El Paso closed its migrant welcome center last October and is still awaiting reimbursement of $7.3 million out of a total $9.52 million spent on migrant care this calendar year, according to the city’s dashboard.