Customs and Border Protection announced that it would temporarily suspend operations at railway crossing bridges in Texas due to the surge in migrants using freight trains to get to the border, CNN reported.
In a press release on December 17, the agency said operations at the international railway crossing bridges in El Paso and Eagle Pass would be temporarily suspended so it could redirect personnel to process migrants starting on Monday, December 18.
On Sunday, December 17, Border Patrol apprehended around 1,300 migrants in El Paso and nearly 3,000 in the Del Rio sector, which includes Eagle Pass, causing a strain on federal resources, according to an official from the Department of Homeland Security.
Throughout December, the Biden administration has closed other ports of entry to vehicular or pedestrian crossings in multiple sectors, including Eagle Pass in Texas, San Ysidro, California, and Lukeville, Arizona.
In the first two weeks of December, Border Patrol apprehended over 37,000 migrants in the Tucson sector alone. Lukeville, Arizona is in the Tucson Border Patrol Sector.
According to Customs and Border Protection, the current surge in migrants has been driven by transnational criminal cartels. The agency said it had observed a “recent resurgence of smuggling organizations” that are moving migrants via freight trains through Mexico. To address the matter, the agency said it is taking steps to “surge personnel” while working in partnership with Mexican authorities.
The White House said on December 20 that it was working with Mexican officials to resolve the issues that led to the closure of the international rail crossings after it received pushback from US agricultural groups, Reuters reported.
Dozens of agricultural groups urged the Biden administration to reopen the railway crossings, arguing that the closures were causing drastic export losses for American farmers.
During the month of November, around 192,000 migrants were apprehended at ports of entry, according to US Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens. That marked a 2 percent increase from October when 188,000 migrants were apprehended.