The city of El Paso, Texas, is also struggling to deal with migrants

Migrants waiting for controlled entry procedures into El Paso from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The number of arrivals from the US southern border has doubled in recent weeks, leaving the city “near breaking point.”

The city of El Paso, Texas, located on the border with Mexico, has faced many difficulties in recent months in managing the arrival of migrants crossing the southern border of the United States. In the summer months, the number of arrivals into the country has almost doubled, going from about 4,900 a day in April to 9,000 currently. According to the mayorDemocrat Oscar Lesser said the city is “close to the breaking point.”

El Paso is one of the main centers affected by the significant increase in migration flows from Mexico, which for migrants is often just the last stage of a longer journey that passes through several countries in South and Central America. San Diego in California and Eagle Pass in Texas are two other cities experiencing a similar situation.

According to data provided by the local administration, the city of El Paso currently receives more than 2,000 arrivals per day, compared to the 300-400 that was the norm until a few months ago: the majority of the migrants are Venezuelan citizens, and two-thirds of them are Venezuelans. They are single men, the rest are families, with 2% unaccompanied minors. The city currently has one shelter for migrants and homeless people that can accommodate up to 400 people, but in the last 10 days, authorities have had to find housing for thousands of people.

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Five buses were organized on Saturday to transport some of the migrants to New York, Chicago and Denver. In recent years, some Republican governors have made similar choices, forcibly sending immigrants to Democratic-governed states, but in this case Mayor Lesser specified that the transfers were agreed upon, carried out on a voluntary basis and that the immigrants were able to choose the destination.

Texas National Guard officers in El Paso (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)

The state of emergency in El Paso is not only a local issue, but has also become a political issue on a national level. In May, the Biden administration launched new measures to manage the immigration issue. It favored the settlement of some migrants already in the country (specifically allowing 500,000 Venezuelans to obtain a two-year residence permit) and set a quota of “agreed crossings” of the border, to prevent migrants from doing so independently. Risking their lives in the desert or crossing the Rio Grande.

Currently, you can book an appointment for an agreed, supervised border crossing using an app. Once they enter the United States, the procedures remain the same: asylum claims are examined (a legal process that can take years), while ineligible immigrants are returned to their home country. The new regulations in effect provide for the immediate return to their home country of immigrants who cross the border illegally and ban their entry into the United States for the following five years.

The border between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The large numbers of arrivals in recent weeks further complicate forced repatriations It happens somewhat randomly, based on flight availability and border authorities’ choices. Those who are not returned remain in the country without authorization, often with a court date set months later. Even appointments on the app, which reached 43,000 in one month, are not enough to meet all requests, and some migrants decide not to wait and try to cross independently or by paying traffickers.

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The increase in arrivals has no single explanation: a strong element is linked to the ongoing economic crisis in Venezuela, but the origins of migrants are diverse, and an increase in the number of people arriving from Africa has also been reported. The authorities of Panama, one of the Central American countries, is a mandatory passage on the road coming from South America, They said they expected By the end of the year, there will be 500,000 migrants entering the country, which is double their number compared to 2022.

– Read also: The problem of immigrants using freight trains in Mexico to reach the United States

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