Thousands of migrants have crossed into the United States in recent days, from California to Texas, with many more still arriving by bus and cargo trains to Mexican border towns on the heels of record migration flows further south.
More than 3,000 migrants have been dropped off over the last week at a San Diego, California transit center after they crossed the U.S-Mexico border, according to organizations offering them assistance.
U.S. Border Patrol agents have been processing migrants from all over the world who were waiting between the two metal border barriers on the southern border, in scenes reminiscent of the large numbers of migrants who gathered there in May.
The dramatic increase along the border – notably in San Diego, California, and the Texan cities of El Paso and Eagle Pass – marks a turning point after numbers had plummeted in recent months, and could create fresh political challenges for U.S. President Joe Biden heading into election season.
Experts say the U.S. lacks the capacity to detain and process migrants at the border, often making it impossible for the administration to carry out the harsh penalties it announced in May.
As a result, some asylum seekers who cross illegally are being released into the U.S. with a future court date, rather than being deported – becoming success stories repeated back to migrants still en route.
“Many don’t know what city they’re in, what’s the closest airport,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director at the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, whose organization is part of a group offering food, clothing and legal advice to arriving migrants.
Hundreds of migrants who crossed without appointments have been forced to wait between two border walls.
In Ciudad Juarez, opposite El Paso, hundreds of migrants squeezed past barbed wire to cross the Rio Grande river into the U.S., forming a line next to the border while awaiting processing by U.S. officials.
(Input from Reuters)