El Paso hit by 255% increase in migrant encounters as Title 42’s end nears, migrants start fires to keep warm
The El Paso Sector of the southern border has seen a massive 255% increase in migrant encounters since October 1, just as images show streams of migrants hitting the border, ahead of the expiration of the Title 42 public health order in less that a week.
The El Paso Sector is averaging over 2,000 illegal crossings a day and has seen a 255% increase in encounters this fiscal year to date, compared with last fiscal year. There were more than 2.3 million migrant encounters in a historic FY 2022, and already FY 2023 is on track to outpace that number border-wide.
Fox News footage taken Tuesday shows well over 1,000 migrants waiting to enter El Paso after crossing illegally into the U.S. and waiting to be let through a chain link fence. The predominantly Nicaraguan migrants were facing temperatures in the low 30s and could be seen in blankets and starting campfires in order to stay warm.
Meanwhile, in Eagle Pass, Texas, Fox cameras caught a group of hundreds of adult migrants from Nicaragua, Cuba, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. The Del Rio Sector has seen over 107,000 illegal crossings in the last two months, up 55% for same period last year.
Separately, in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have made two major apprehensions this week, stopping 15 illegal immigrants hidden in a trailer in one instance. In another, authorities at a checkpoint nabbed a haul of 3,000 lbs of liquid methamphetamine in one of the biggest-ever such busts and worth nearly $100 million.
The crossings come ahead of the ending of Title 42, which has been used to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, next week. A court found the use of the Trump-era order unlawful and ordered it wound down, a move that has raised fears of an even bigger wave of crossings.
The Biden administration has appealed, but a ruling won’t come ahead of the Dec. 21 deadline. The Department of Homeland Security has stressed that it has a six-point plan in place, including more resources, cooperation with other countries and the use of alternative expulsion authorities, but it has failed to convince Republicans and Democrats on the Hill.
A number of Democrats have joined Republicans in finding ways to extend Title 42, including via an immigration framework that would extend it via statute, while also funding additional border security and granting a pathway to citizenship for over two million illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., took aim at the administration on Wednesday, accusing it of an 'abdication' of its legal responsibilities.
DHS has requested an additional $4 billion in funding for the border, based on a projection of between 9,000 and 15,000 crossings a day once Title 42 ends. The money would fund 'border management,' including soft-sided facilities, migrant care, transportation, processing and the Emergency Food and Shelter program.
DHS Secretary Mayorkas was asked this week about the potential limiting of asylum claims and told the El Paso Times: 'There are a lot of discussions about different ideas and how to address the number of encounters that we're experiencing at the border. No decisions have been made.'
Mayorkas is likely to face increased political pressure into the New Year as Republicans take control of the House and have pledged to make investigating the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis a top priority.
The administration, meanwhile, has been pushing back against Republican criticism and calling on the GOP to fund measures to respond to the looming migrant surge.
'If Republicans in Congress are serious about border security, they would ensure that the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security have the resources they need to secure our border and build a safe, orderly and humane immigration system,' White House Assistant Press Secretary Abdullah Hasan told Fox News Digital this week.
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