US to suspend rail operations on southern border due to migrant surge

Washington: The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it will temporarily suspend operations at the international railway crossing bridges in Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas, from Monday due to the continued surge in migrant crossings.

In a statement on Sunday, the CBP said the suspension, which will come into force at 8 a.m. (local time) on Monday morning, is “in order to redirect personnel to assist the US Border Patrol with taking migrants into custody”.

The agency further said that it is “continuing to surge all available resources to safely process migrants in response to increased levels of migrant encounters at the southwest border, fueled by smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals”.

“After observing a recent resurgence of smuggling organisations moving migrants through Mexico via freight trains, CBP is taking additional actions to surge personnel and address this concerning development, including in partnership with Mexican authorities.” it added.

The CBP went on to say that in the past few weeks, it has made a “number of operational adjustments in order to maximse our ability to respond, process, and enforce consequences”.

“In Eagle Pass, vehicular processing remains suspended at Eagle Pass International Bridge 1. In San Diego, California, San Ysidro’s Pedestrian West operations remain suspended. In Lukeville, Arizona, the Lukeville Port of Entry remains closed.

““We continue to adjust our operational plans to maximise enforcement efforts against those noncitizens who do not use lawful pathways or processes… and those without a legal basis to remain in the US,” it added.

Earlier Sunday, border authorities apprehended nearly 3,000 migrants in Del Rio, Texas, and around 1,300 migrants in El Paso, straining federal resources, CNN quoted a Homeland Security official as saying.

Eagle Pass is in the Del Rio Border Patrol Sector.

In the first 14 days of December, more than 37,000 migrants were apprehended in the Tucson Border Patrol Sector alone — which includes Lukeville.

Last month, border authorities apprehended about 192,000 migrants between ports of entry in November, a 2 per cent increase compared with the 188,000 migrant apprehensions in October.


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