Hundreds of thousands of migrants coming across the United States (US)-Mexico border continue to put US President Joe Biden under pressure. Biden has been plagued by issues on the border since his first months in office when the US faced a surge of unaccompanied migrant children that caught officials flatfooted. As a town on the US border with Mexico declares a state of emergency, some governors and mayors point to the financial burden of the growing number of migrants. Over the last two years, his administration has continued to face fierce pushback from Republicans – and at times, Democrats – over his immigration policies.
Following a decline in border encounters attributed to policy changes such as expanded lawful migrant pathways, new asylum restrictions, and Title 8, which includes decades-old immigration legislation, outlines processes for handling migrants at the border, and enforcement restoration, the border crisis has reignited. The resurgence is affecting cities like New York City and Chicago, prompting calls for increased federal assistance. Recent days have witnessed a daily average of 9 thousand encounters at the border. This surge was vividly evident in Eagle Pass, Texas, where thousands of Venezuelan migrants entered the area, leading to the temporary closure of two bridges as agents grappled with the situation. The August numbers have drawn criticism from congressional Republicans, who question the administration's earlier claims of success and accuse Department of Homeland Security (DHS)Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of negligence in his duty.
But the new wave of newcomers – many of whom are from Venezuela paints a grim outlook for the fall as Biden ramps up his reelection campaign and Republicans continue to hammer the administration over its handling of the border.
Most of those caught crossing the Mexican border illegally are released and apply for asylum in immigration court; some are admitted to the United States through official channels.
According to reports in the US press, crossings in the Texas border cities of El Paso and Eagle Pass are so busy that federal border officials are suspending the processing of commercial trucks and vehicles on international bridges and redirecting resources to migrant processing.
The migrant problem on the southern border of the US is affecting other major cities, especially New York (NY).NY, shelters, tents, and facilities have been created in more than 200 hotels for migrants. The Biden administration announced that half a million Venezuelans will be given the right to work and live legally in the US under the Temporary Protection Status Programme in order to reduce the pressure on cities like New York.