World

Migrant surge pushes US border city to ‘breaking point’

A sharp rise in migrants crossing the US border from Mexico has pushed a Texas city to “breaking point”, its mayor has warned.

With more than 2,000 people a day seeking asylum, services in El Paso have been overwhelmed, leaving the authorities struggling to cope.

The influx has also hit the Texas border city of Eagle Pass, where more than 8,000 migrants arrived this week, leading authorities to declare an emergency.

Pic: AP
Image:
There has been a surge in arrivals at the US border. Pic: AP

After a dip in illegal crossings following new asylum restrictions in May, the large number of recent arrivals has sparked a fresh wave of political attacks on US President Joe Biden ahead of the 2024 election.

It comes as Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman questioned whether international migration rules designed more than a century ago are “fit for purpose ahead of a major speech in the US.

The UK has been dealling with its own migrant issues, with people crossing in small boats from France, while southern Italy has also seen arrivals from North Africa.

While just six weeks ago, about 350 to 400 people were crossing into El Paso per day, this has recently surged to 2,000 or more.

Mayor Oscar Leeser told a news conference: “The city of El Paso only has so many resources and we have come to… a breaking point right now.”

He has chartered buses to take migrants to New York, Chicago and Denver.

Republican governors in Texas and Florida have been criticised for sending migrants to cities seen as liberal, such as New York and Sacramento.

But Mr Leeser, a Democrat, said all of the migrants on the El Paso buses were going voluntarily to the cities of their choice.

He said: “I think it’s really important to note that we have a broken immigration system.

“It’s the same thing over and over again.”

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In August, border patrol officers made 181,509 arrests on the Mexican frontier, up 37% from July, according to latest figures.

People in families with children fuelled the increase, with 93,999 arrests – the highest on record – up from 60,454 in July and 31,487 in June.

Troy Miller, acting US Customs and Border Protection chief, said: “Our operational tempo along the border has increased in response to increased encounters, and we remain squarely focused on our broader security mission and enforcing US immigration laws.”

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