U.S. Customs and Border Protection is temporarily suspending international railway crossings in Eagle Pass and El Paso in order to redirect personnel to assist with the processing of an influx of migrants.
“CBP is continuing to surge all available resources to safely process migrants in response to increased levels of migrant encounters at the Southwest Border, fueled by smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals,” CBP said in a statement Sunday evening. “After observing a recent resurgence of smuggling organizations moving migrants through Mexico via freight trains, CBP is taking additional actions to surge personnel and address this concerning development, including in partnership with Mexican authorities.”
A Department of Homeland Security official told CNN that CBP apprehended nearly 3,000 migrants over the weekend in the Eagle Pass area, and around 1,300 people in El Paso — many of whom came from Venezuela.
The rail crossing suspensions at both ports of entry began at 8am Monday local time.
The disruption of trade between the U.S. and its largest trading partner has often been a last resort for U.S. and Mexican officials as they responded to previous migration surges.
In recent weeks, CBP suspended the processing of vehicles at Eagle Pass International Bridge 1 as well as operations at California’s San Ysidro Pedestrian West and Arizona’s Lukeville Port of Entry.
“This year alone, vehicle and rail operations have been suspended at multiple ports of entry due to an overwhelming number of migrants, worsening delays for truck drivers transporting goods and costing our economy millions,” said U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D – Laredo) in a social media post on X.
The most recent developments come as the Biden administration negotiates with Senate Republicans over more stringent immigration restrictions in exchange for foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.
It also comes as Gov. Abbott is scheduled to sign into law a controversial bill that would allow Texas to arrest migrants for crossing between ports of entry, the latest in a series of actions testing the limits of a state’s ability to enforce immigration law.
In the fiscal year that ended in September, there were more than 2.4 million apprehensions across the U.S-Mexico border. That broke the record of 2.3 million from the year before.
Source: Texas Public Radio