U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials said that due to unprecedented overcrowding they have begun transporting hundreds of families by bus and aircraft from the crowded facilities to the less-crowded stations along the southwest border.
CBP’s acting Commissioner John P. Sanders released a statement saying that the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) had over 16,000 people in custody as of May 17.
The number of those in custody is due to the record number of apprehensions—over 500,000 so far in fiscal year 2019.
Sanders said the situation at the southern border is both a humanitarian and an operational crisis. Transporting those in custody to less crowded facilities is the latest attempt in dealing with the overwhelming humanitarian and border security crisis the immigration system is undergoing.
Sanders stressed. “CBP has no plans to transport people in custody to northern or coastal border facilities, which includes Border Patrol stations in Florida.
He also stated that CBP may need to take additional action for the welfare of those in their custody and for the health and safety of everyone involved. He did not give further details on what those additional actions may be.
Asylum-Seekers to wait in Mexico
While those who illegally enter the United States are apprehended and detained for processing—including families—many of those seeking asylum get processed in Mexico and wait in Mexico for their court dates.
There is no longer the “catch and release” option, which aside from comparing humans to fish, was an inhumane way to handle illegal entry and asylum cases. There was no proper vetting.
As of May 7, a U.S. court ruled that U.S. officials can make asylum-seekers wait temporarily in Mexico for immigration court hearings. The program began in California in January and was extended to El Paso ports of entry in March.
While critics may think having them wait in Mexico is putting asylum-seekers’ lives in jeopardy, officials in Mexico have rejected the idea that they are in danger in Mexico.
The Mexican government and church officials have quickly and methodically set up camps to feed and shelter those in need. In what is known as “metering,” American and Mexican government agencies communicate daily and exchange information on how many asylum-seekers will be permitted to cross the ports of entry, according to the Texas Tribune.
In fact, Mexico is offering temporary work visas to many of the migrants as they wait on court dates that can take anywhere from weeks to months.
Mexican shelters encourage migrants to find work and a room to rent so they can wait further, as shelters only allow stays from 15 to 30 days, with the exception of migrants from faraway places who are allowed longer stays.