More than 400 people illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas on Dec. 3 and surrendered to U.S. Border Patrol agents in El Paso.
Agent Fidel Baca, a spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), told the El Paso Times that a group of men, women, and children turned themselves in to the Border Patrol along the Rio Grande levee next to the border fence in the Riverside area of the Lower Valley.
Baca said that CBP agents initially detained 200 people but with the discovery of another group east of the Zaragoza Bridge, that number was later revised upward to 400.
The illegal aliens were taken into custody and will be processed, Baca told the El Paso Times, and added that they may be prosecuted for illegal entry.
According to Baca, it was not known whether the migrants were part of the Central American caravans that had made their way through Mexico.
The detained group of 400 was the latest in recent weeks of rising numbers of migrants crossing the Texas border to turn themselves in an apparent hope of obtaining political asylum.
KFOX14 reported that two weeks ago, a total of 210 undocumented immigrants turned themselves into CBP agents.
“We’ve seen this, we’ve got our intelligence reports, we’ve been doing the analysis consistently. And we’ve always been training and preparing for moments like this. So we’re looking forward to seeing how much further this goes but at the same time preparing and making sure our agents are ready to handle these situations,” said U.S. Border Patrol Agent Joe Romero, according to the report.
Watch surveillance footage released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection showing children being dropped from an 18-foot wall along the U.S.-Mexico border near San Luis, Arizona:
Caravan Migrants Breach Border
At least two dozen Central American migrants, who claim to be disillusioned and frustrated with the asylum-seeking process, illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on Monday by scaling a 10-foot metal fence.
Reuters reported that other migrants managed to squeeze through the fence on the beach.
Karen Mayeni, a 29-year-old Honduran mother with three children aged between 6 and 12, told Reuters that she was standing by and watching others penetrating the border and “waiting to see what happens.” The woman said she would decide her family’s next action “in a couple of days.”
But about 90 minutes later, she and her children were seen on the U.S. side of the border, according to the report.
The migrants in Tijuana are part of several caravans that traveled through Mexico in an effort to enter the United States, citing issues such as widespread violence and dismal job prospects in their home countries.
Some migrants have said they hope to enter the United States legally on the basis of approved asylum claims, but others have said they intend to get across by any means necessary.
Plans for illegal crossings were curbed by the Trump administration’s decision to send troops to protect the border and impose a new policy that requires every migrant seeking asylum to remain in Mexico, where their cases will be heard. That rule was struck down last month by a federal judge.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum said it is costing the city $25,000 per day to feed and house the 7,000 migrants currently in the city.
He told Fox News that Tijuana cannot continue providing support for the migrants, saying the city’s resources have been depleted.
“In those six hours that the border was closed, we lost approximately 129 million pesos,” he said, referring to recent clashes at the border. “That’s not fair. How do you think people from Tijuana feel toward those people who are making problems?”