EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Border Patrol agents on Thursday could be seen setting up a shade structure at the U.S.-Mexico border in Downtown El Paso, in preparation for more large groups of migrants crossing.
A KTSM 9 News crew joined agents at the border for the second day in a row, spotting hundreds of migrants crossing the border and waiting to be processed on Wednesday, while on Thursday the number of migrants waiting was significantly smaller.
“Those decompression efforts are working; we have a lot fewer migrants here now than we had yesterday and obviously the days prior,” said Carlos Rivera, a spokesman for Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector.
For the past few days, the Border Patrol has been using mobile processing buses set up at the border to process migrants more quickly.
In addition, Rivera said some migrants are being flown to other sectors to be processed.
“We have helped other sectors before in a time when other sectors are in need and now when the El Paso Sector is experiencing an influx now it is time for other sectors to help us,” Rivera said.
Rivera does say that the demographic of people crossing in this area of the border, where these migrants are seen surrendering to border agents, has changed.
“The majority of the demographic that we are now encountering as I had mentioned, Venezuelan, Cuban and Nicaraguan are not candidates to Title 42 expulsion and have to be processed under a Title 8 which then again adds a little more processing or adds a little more time in custody that those migrants will face,” he said.
KTSM 9 News spoke with one migrant from Venezuela moments after he crossed into the U.S. and surrendered to agents.
“There’s a lot of need in my country and the majority of us Venezuelans have to cross the jungle we have been traveling for a month and a week,” said German Antonio Garcia, who is from Venezuela.
Garcia said the minimum monthly wage in Venezuela is roughly $3.
“Minimum wage over there is three dollars, you can’t do a whole lot with three dollars, a bag of rice is a dollar fifty, so basically all you can buy is a bag of rice and a chicken and what do we do for the rest of month,” Garcia said.
Rivera confirmed that the central processing facility is still at capacity and migrants continue to be released into the community. On Wednesday, a total of 115 people were provisionally released meaning their day in court is still pending.
Border Patrol agents stressed that every migrant goes through a background check.
“People with felony convictions, criminal records, those types of migrants that we might be encountering those are neither expelled nor released to the community, those people stay in detention throughout their immigration pathway,” Rivera said.
KTSM 9 News has provided continuing coverage of those migrants who have been released due to capacity issues and can be seen sleeping next to the Greyhound bus station on Overland Street in Downtown El Paso.
Over the past few days, the smell of human feces and urine has increased near the bus station where migrants are camping out.
Migrants have said they have been told they can no longer put up their tents, and they say they have nowhere to use the bathroom.
When asked if there was a plan to put up portable restrooms in the Downtown area, City of El Paso spokeswoman Laura Cruz-Acosta, in an email to KTSM 9 News, said: “Staff advised that portable restrooms and wash stations are being delivered if they have not done so already.”
Migrants have also said they can no longer put up their tents that could be seen on Tuesday night but were gone by Wednesday. The migrants, instead, are sleeping on flattened tents.
“By state law, public camping is not allowed; however, our City/OEM roving teams are still going out and offering the migrants any assistance to include coordinating shelter for them, food, water, etc.,” said Cruz-Acosta.