Razor wire, troops, and buoys proved ineffective in deterring a surge of migrants across the southwest border, overwhelming border agents.
In Eagle Pass, the mayor reported that around 700 or more migrants crossed Saturday morning. Just this week, over 8,000 noncitizens arrived in the small town of approximately 30,000 residents.
Over in El Paso, Texas, Mayor Oscar Leeser reports over 2,000 migrant encounters Friday, with a similar number expected Sunday. In the past 10 days, the city has housed 7,000 migrants and is now activating an emergency shelter for an extra 400—a majority from Venezuela.
“When I left the refuge, and I was among the first to go through, from Sunday to Monday when I left, there were 4,900,” said Gueris Guetierrez from Venezuela.
The numbers have since increased significantly.
“When we looked at the number yesterday, it was over 6,000,” said John Martin, Deputy Director at the Opportunity Center for the Homeless. “That is quite a bit because, from what we understand, the capacity of their detention facility is 3,500."
Martin says shelters in El Paso are over capacity, and they’re out of beds.
When questioned about whether the U.S. was on the brink of a migrant crisis or already immersed in one, Martin said, “I believe personally, we're already there, especially when I start looking at the numbers."
Along the southwest border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has tracked over 2.2 million migrant encounters in this fiscal year, nearing last year's total of almost 2.4 million encounters.
Guetierrez says he’s been sleeping on the street since his traumatic journey from Venezuela, fleeing economic and political hardships.
“The crisis, the political persecution in Venezuela—that's what brought me here,” said Guetierrez.
19-year-old Jheison Lazaro says there were days he didn’t think he would survive his journey from South America.
“They steal all of your money, and they threaten to kill you,” said Lazaro.
The surge of migrants led to temporary closures of various border crossings and bridges this week to reroute officers to aid in non-citizen processing.
The Department of Homeland Security expanded their holding facilities, and 800 military troops were dispatched to the Texas border to support the 2,500 guards already present.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott also organized buses to Eagle Pass and El Paso to, in his words, "relieve the strain caused by the surge of illegal crossings."
These buses will drop migrants off in sanctuary cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Denver.
Many individuals living on the streets express not having a final destination or a dollar to their name, yet they remain eager to work and contribute toward realizing their dreams.
“When an immigrant arrives, they have to get out and win over the hearts of the people and fight for a job."
Democratic mayors assisting asylum seekers are calling for more relief.
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