Advertisement

Some U.S.-Mexico border crossings to reopen as illegal immigration drops

Click to play video: 'U.S. officials at Eagle Pass border crossing sound alarm amid ‘historic’ influx of migrants'
U.S. officials at Eagle Pass border crossing sound alarm amid ‘historic’ influx of migrants
RELATED: U.S. officials at Eagle Pass border crossing sound alarm amid 'historic' influx of migrants – Dec 21, 2023

The U.S. will reopen four legal U.S.-Mexico border crossings on Thursday as high levels of illegal immigration have receded and freed up personnel, U.S. border authorities said on Tuesday.

The U.S. will resume operations at an international bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas, two crossings in Arizona and another near San Diego, California, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a press release, adding that it will continue to prioritize border security “as necessary.”

U.S. border authorities struggled in December to process migrants as apprehensions reached nearly 11,000 in a single day, which several current and former officials said was near or at a record high.

Mexican and U.S. officials pledged last week to work together more closely to tackle record migration at their shared border after top U.S. officials traveled to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Story continues below advertisement

Mexican officials have stepped up immigration enforcement in recent weeks, including moving migrants to southern Mexico and resuming deportation flights to Venezuela, a senior U.S. official said during a call with reporters on Tuesday, requesting anonymity as a condition of the briefing.

Click to play video: 'El Paso, Texas at ‘breaking point’ as asylum seekers flood across border, mayor says'
El Paso, Texas at ‘breaking point’ as asylum seekers flood across border, mayor says

U.S. border authorities arrested an average of 6,400 migrants per day over the past week, according to an internal U.S. government report reviewed by Reuters, a steep decline from the levels before Christmas.

A separate U.S. official on the call cautioned that migrant crossings have historically dropped between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

“We have seen over the last year periods of increased encounters and periods of decreased encounters,” the official said. “We will continue to stand ready to respond to these kinds of surges.”

Lawmakers in the U.S. Congress remain in talks over a possible deal that would combine increased border security measures with foreign aid, including military funding for Ukraine, officials said.

Story continues below advertisement

Record crossings of Latin America's Darian Gap

A record 520,000 migrants crossed the treacherous jungle between Colombia and Panama known as the Darien Gap in 2023, more than double the number reported the year before, according to government figures seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The migrants who made the journey that marks the start of the dangerous trek north from South America to the United States last year were mostly from Venezuela, Ecuador, Haiti and China, according to the numbers from Panama’s migration agency.

Around a quarter of the migrants were minors, said Samira Gozaine, who heads the agency.

“This is a national security problem,” she told reporters at a government event. “Unfortunately, we do not have a quick solution to solve it.”

Since Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo took office in 2019, the number of migrants transiting the Darien has skyrocketed, leading authorities to call for international aid.

Story continues below advertisement

The situation has been driven, in part, by a sharp increase in Venezuelans fleeing the protracted economic and social collapse of the once-prosperous oil nation. In recent years, more than seven million Venezuelans have fled their country, according to UN figures.

Click to play video: 'U.S. sees decrease in daily encounters at Mexico border after Title 42 lifted'
U.S. sees decrease in daily encounters at Mexico border after Title 42 lifted

Those who cross the Darien risk violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking and disease. In September, Reuters reported that African migrants heading to the United States are flying to Nicaragua to bypass the dangers of the Darien Gap.

The number of migrants from China making the risky trek has jumped, partly as COVID lockdowns there slowed the economy and as it became more difficult for Chinese nationals to obtain U.S. visas.

Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington, Kristina Cooke in San Francisco and Elida Moreno; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Michael Perry, Diego Ore and Sonali Paul

Story continues below advertisement

 

Sponsored content

AdChoices