There are a variety of trends involving immigration, but one that stands out is the surge in numbers in four of the last five months. According to the New York Times, the Southwest border is at a breaking point as 76,000 migrants crossed the border without authorization in February, which generally has lower numbers because of the weather. This 2019 number was more than double of February 2018 and the largest February since 2007. This has led Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol, to declare in a recent statement that, “The system is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point.”
Avoiding the main points of entry
Not only are these migrants coming in record numbers, but they are also arriving in larger and larger groups at isolated outposts hours from civilization in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The reason is the glut of migrants waiting at leading ports of entry because of new restrictions put in place there.
From Guatemala by bus
More than 90 percent of these migrants are from western highlands Guatemala where there are severe poverty and little food. Rather than the slow-moving caravans that caused the president to deploy the military late last year, this wave of families is taking buses to make the trip in four to seven days.
Finding housing an issue
Not surprisingly, the high numbers of have forced officials to find a number of alternatives for housing the migrants. The processing asylum applications for many families has mostly been done in El Paso, Texas. The number of facilities housing the migrants has now grown to 20, including churches, converted nursing homes and 125 hotel rooms paid for by donations.
Too many to contain
Officials are now freely admitting that there simply is not enough room to house the migrants as they wait. After two children died in custody and an outcry of criticism for separating parents from children, families are now being released into the country within 20 days of processing. There are also large numbers of single adults being released as they wait for their hearing.
Legal guidance is important for the immigration hearing
Migrants face many challenges ahead of them as start a new life. Fortunately, a knowledgeable immigration law attorney can help increases the chances of a smooth and successful transition to a new country as these record numbers continue to soar.