New data indicates the U.S. is at a record-breaking pace for encounters with migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who shared data from Customs and Border Patrol on Thursday, U.S. border authorities have detained approximately 142,000 migrants this month.
Breaking down the numbers on a daily basis, this equates to over 7,000 encounters per day, marking a 60% surge from the daily average seen in July. On Monday, in a single day, over 8,000 people were apprehended for attempting unlawful crossings across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Cities across the country are struggling to keep up with the influx of migrants.
Border patrol agents in El Paso, Texas, grappling with the surge say the situation is overwhelming their streets.
El Paso Strategic Communications Director Laura Cruz-Acosta told CNN that since last Friday, agents in the area have encountered 1,200 individuals daily, and city officials report that over 1,100 migrants are being released into the community each day, leaving city shelters operating at full capacity for the past three weeks.
This new wave of migrants prompted a tweet from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who said, "I officially declared an invasion at our border because of Biden's policies. We deployed the Texas National Guard, DPS, & local law enforcement. We are building a border wall, razor wire, & marine barriers. We are also repelling migrants."
In Eagle Pass, Texas, a state of emergency was declared as it grappled with an overwhelming influx of migrants.
"We're going to need the funds. We're spending a lot of funds and just to get everything under control. So we need the help from our federal and state partners," said Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas. "I'm getting numbers of anywhere from 5,000 to 9,000 people that are in Mexico ready to cross into Eagle Pass tomorrow or the next couple of days, which is alarming for us. We're a city of 28,000 people. We don't have the capacity or resource."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection shut down one of the international bridges in Eagle Pass and re-allocated customs staff to help with the processing of the large number of people who crossed.
Meanwhile, in Chicago this week, the city’s mayor, Brandon Johnson, quietly signed a $29 million contract with the private security firm GardaWorld to establish and manage base camps for migrants.
The contract with GardaWorld states that its purpose is “to allow the City to purchase from the State Contract temporary housing solutions and related services … to provide critical services to asylum seekers.”
The majority of the 14,000 migrants who have arrived in Chicago seeking asylum since August 2022 have traveled there from Texas.
And in New York, with over 60,000 migrants under the city's care, Mayor Eric Adams has made the decision to cease housing single adults after a two-month period. Starting this Saturday, thousands will begin facing evictions.
“Never was it envisioned that this would be an unlimited universal right or obligation on the city to have to house literally [the] entire world,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. “We want to make sure that no families end up on the streets. We don’t want anything to happen to our children, but we also have to let the world know that there have to be limits to this.”
Why is this happening?
The uptick in people crossing is being attributed to multiple factors.
The first being that migrants who applied for asylum through a federal immigration mobile phone app called CBP One got sick of waiting for months in their home countries and have decided to try their luck now without an appointment.
And the second reason is cartels wanting to rake in profits by stirring up disinformation.
A Mexican newspaper reported in the state of Chihuahua that police think cartels rake in $100 million a year from money the gangsters take from migrants looking to journey from Mexico to the U.S.
"They make money with the immigrants; they make money with the drugs. So they jumped at it real fast, and I know this because we have smugglers coming from Houston, Florida, Austin, everywhere to pick up those immigrants. There's a connection there," said Sheriff Tom Schmerber of Maverick County, Texas.
Experts say a key difference about this migration surge is that more families with children, rather than single adults, are migrating from central and south America.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Scripps News in a written statement that human smugglers are spreading disinformation about the border to migrants and "are putting migrants' lives at risk for their own financial gain.” Adding that the “rumors circulating on social media that areas of the southwest border, specifically in the El Paso sector, are open to illegal migration, are patently false.”
Eagle Pass’ mayor says politicians on both sides of the aisle need to consider humanitarian concerns.
"A 4-year-old drowned and died today. We had an adult male that drowned in the river. That is sad. Nobody wants to see people suffer. That's the last thing that you want to see. But just logistically, a city like Eagle Pass cannot handle this situation," said Salinas.
Texas has spent $6 billion on its own security program, but by most observations, that money hasn’t solved the problem.
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