Sunday, December 31, 2023

Migrant Surge Overwhelms Border Agents as Smugglers Target Remote Stretches; Illegal Crossings Surge in Remote Areas as Congress, White House Weigh Major Asylum Limits

Photograph by Ash Ponders for The WSJ
WSJ: Migrant Surge Overwhelms Border Agents as Smugglers Target Remote Stretches:
Smugglers sneaking migrants to the U.S. border have moved from major crossings to more remote spots like this one in recent months, challenging immigration officials who lack the facilities or manpower nearby to handle huge numbers of people.
More than 50 migrants—including women and children from countries including Kenya, Senegal, Colombia and Guinea—were walking along the border east of this small Pima County town on Friday, saying they had been guided by smugglers to a hole in the 30-foot-high steel post wall.
Border Patrol agents on site were already busy taking into custody roughly 100 other migrants who had arrived earlier in the day, so other agents used cameras to monitor the new arrivals as they trekked to a staging area a few miles away.
U.S. officials have reported averaging more than 7,000 arrests a day recently—with several days over 10,000—along the Southwest border, with some of the largest surges appearing in remote Arizona and California, as the number of people crossing into the U.S. and requesting asylum continues to hover near record levels.
Since the start of the budget year on Oct. 1, agents in Tucson, Ariz., have made more than 142,000 arrests, according to preliminary data, up from about 54,000 arrests during the same time a year ago.
The influx near Lukeville has forced Customs and Border Protection to indefinitely close a legal border crossing popular with tourists from both countries who routinely travel back and forth. It also spurred Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, to sign an executive order Friday to deploy state National Guard troops to the border to aid federal authorities.
“Yet again, the federal government is refusing to do its job to secure our border and keep our communities safe,” Hobbs said. “With this executive order, I am taking action where the federal government won’t.”
Troy Miller, Customs and Border Protection acting commissioner, said Monday that while his agents and officers are doing all they can to manage the record flows of migrants, Congress needs to approve more resources for all the Department of Homeland Security agencies responsible for immigration enforcement. --->READ MORE HERE
NY POST: Illegal crossings surge in remote areas as Congress, White House weigh major asylum limits
Hundreds of dates are written on concrete-filled steel columns erected along the US border with Mexico to memorialize when the Border Patrol has repaired illicit openings in the would-be barriers.
Yet no sooner are fixes made than another column is sawed, torched and chiseled for large groups of migrants to enter, usually with no agents in sight.
The breaches stretch about 30 miles on a washboard gravel road west of Lukeville, an Arizona desert town that consists of an official border crossing, restaurant and duty-free shop.
The repair dates are mostly since spring, when the flat desert region dotted with saguaro cactus became the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.
A Border Patrol tour in Arizona for news organizations, including The Associated Press, showed improvements in custody conditions and processing times, but flows are overwhelming.
Chaotic scenes, including when daily arrivals averaged more than 7,000 across the border a week in December, are catnip for conservatives in Congress who want major limits on asylum.
The numbers have nudged the White House and some congressional Democrats to consider major limits to asylum as part of a deal for Ukraine aid.
As Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas left closed-door talks with congressional leaders Friday, dozens of migrants from Senegal, Guinea and Mexico walked along the Arizona border wall built during Donald Trump’s presidency, looking to surrender to agents. --->READ MORE HERE
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