UPDATED 6:21 AM PT — Monday, March 25, 2019
With hundreds of people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border each day, intense strain has been put on Border Patrol. Over the weekend, the El Paso sector was forced to shut down its checkpoints, so agents could help process asylum applicants.
The Texas Monthly magazine was the first to break the news, revealing agents who usually inspect cargo were reassigned indefinitely. This impacted all checkpoints spanning from New Mexico to the Rio Grande in Texas.
While border apprehensions are down from last year, it comes at a time when the country is grappling with an influx of migration.
Several caravans from Central America have traveled to the U.S. in the last year, bringing thousands of migrants to the border and driving up wait times to file for asylum. This influx is putting intense strain on Border Patrol, who have said their facilities were not designed to process so many people at once.
It doesn’t appear that this wave of migration will be slowing any time soon. Smugglers in Central America have reportedly been stepping up their operations by advertising that they can get migrants to the U.S. border in a matter of days. Once they do arrive, however, migrants face the long battle of convincing U.S. immigration judges their asylum claims are valid and they deserve to stay in the U.S.