EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – El Paso led the nation in migrant encounters for a sixth consecutive month in March.

Border agents in El Paso have seen a surge in asylum-seekers turning themselves in at the border wall in the aftermath of a fire at a Juarez, Mexico, detention center that claimed 40 lives. More than 1,000 South and Central Americans surrendered at the border wall on March 29, and other groups have followed since.

Another factor fueling the increase is the seasonal rise in Mexicans and Central Americans seeking to avoid apprehension in trying to get to agricultural and construction jobs in the interior of the United States, officials have told Border Report.

The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 39,512 migrants in the El Paso Sector in March, trailed by Tucson with 33,949 and Del Rio with 28,812. Almost half the migrants the Border Patrol encountered in El Paso last month were Mexican nationals, while 7,700 were from the Northern Triangle of Central America and 12,575 from other countries, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

The demographics were much different back in October. Most people coming across between ports of entry in El Paso then were from South America and other countries (38,876), while only one in five (8,637) were from Mexico.

CBP March data for El Paso Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol. (CBP graphic)

Twice as many migrants apprehended in El Paso (26,401) in March were quickly expelled from the country on Title 42 authority, as those placed on Title 8 proceedings (13,111).

The City of El Paso’s Migrant Dashboard website shows encounters and the number of migrants in custody continues to rise in a sector that includes Far West Texas and all of New Mexico. The city reports federal agencies are taking an average of 1,539 migrants into custody daily while the number of people at CBP processing centers is up to 4,562. That compares to only 776 apprehensions and 839 people in custody in mid-January.

For the whole 2023 fiscal year, the El Paso Sector has recorded 265,037 migrant encounters, more than any other sector on the Southwest border, CBP data shows.