Record number of migrants pass through El Paso in September

Border Patrol reports an average of 1,633 encounters daily in the West Texas-Southern New Mexico sector, exceeding the volume since May 2019

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — El Paso sector border officials encountered a record number of unauthorized migrants in September, many of them asylum seekers from Venezuela, who were quickly paroled and released.

The releases prompted nonprofits and local governments in the region to scramble to provide temporary housing, food and transportation for the migrants — multimillion-dollar expenses they expect the Biden administration to reimburse.

In an email response to Border Report requests, the US Border Patrol said it detained an average of 1,633 migrants per day in September in the El Paso sector. That equates to 48,990 encounters for the month, beating May 2019’s monthly water mark of 38,637.

The agency processed an average of 672 Venezuelan nationals per day in the region — more than 20,000 in September.

Migrants wait to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents shortly after illegally crossing the border into El Paso, Texas, September 14, 2022. (Ruben Espinoza/KTSM)

“The U.S. Border Patrol in the El Paso Sector has seen a significant increase in encounters with migrants in fiscal 2022 compared to previous fiscal years, with more than 258,760 encounters,” the agency said in a statement through Aug. 31.

The agency says it will continue to expel unauthorized migrants under Title 42 of the Public Health Order and place others determined they have no legal basis to stay in the country under Title 8 of the deportation procedure.

This CBP chart shows the monthly high so far for migrants in the El Paso sector.

“CBP continues to safely, efficiently and effectively process individuals at the border,” the agency said in its statement.

The September spike forced the Border Patrol to turn hundreds of migrants onto the streets in three days as the US Customs and Border Protection Central Processing Center and non-profit shelters were full. Many camped on the sidewalks near a bus stop, including during a night when a rainstorm battered the city.

The Border Patrol says it hasn’t conducted street clearances since Sept. 15. That was around the time the city of El Paso approved a $2 million charter bus deal to transport migrants to cities of their choice in the United States for free. Given the demand for the service, the city has since approved a second $4 million contract.

The Border Patrol has responded to the surge by constructing a temporary processing center a few yards from the border wall west of downtown El Paso. This has become a popular border crossing for Venezuelans, who arrive in Juarez, Mexico in private charter buses and are driven to the Rio Grande by taxis. Record number of migrants pass through El Paso in September

Dais Johnston

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