U.S. reopening 4 entry points at southern border following dramatic drop in migrant crossings



U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will resume commercial and legal travel at four official crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday that were partially or fully closed recently due to record levels of migrant crossings, senior U.S. officials told reporters Tuesday.

The impacted ports of entry are in Eagle Pass, Texas, Lukeville and Nogales, Arizona and San Ysidro, California.

The U.S.-Mexico border crossing at Lukeville, Ariz. sat closed on Dec. 15, 2023 in response to a large migrant influx. It was to reopen on Jan. 4, 2024, U.S. officials said, after crossings levels fell substantially. Gregory Bull / AP

The U.S. officials also said the Mexican government has stepped up efforts to slow U.S.-bound migration, adding that those operations have been partially responsible for a recent marked drop in illegal border crossings.

The U.S. Border Patrol processed roughly 2,500 migrants Monday, a sharp decrease from the record arrivals reported in December, one of the U.S. officials said.

Mexican officials have been carrying out “enhanced enforcement actions” to “decongest” the U.S. southern border, the U.S. officials pointed out. Among the steps Mexican officials are using: increasing deportations to southern Mexico and Venezuela.

The U.S. officials also noted that since May, the U.S. has repatriated more than 460,000 migrants, including 75,000 parents and children traveling as families.

When asked by CBS News about the recent spike in illegal crossings by Venezuelan migrants, one of the U.S. officials said the administration is working to “ramp up” deportation flights to Venezuela.

Mexico and U.S. officials will meet again in Washington to discuss migration later this month.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and President Biden’s homeland security adviser, Liz Sherwood-Randall, traveled to Mexico last week to meet with that country’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, about the border situation.

The White House and a small, bipartisan group of senators have been negotiating a package that would make dramatic changes to the nation’s asylum and border security laws. Republicans in Congress have conditioned any further military aid to Ukraine and Israel and funding for border operations — key components of Mr. Biden’s multi-billion-dollar national security package — on congressional Democrats and the White House backing asylum restrictions and broader legal authorities to deport migrants crossing the U.S. southern border unlawfully.

The White House has signaled it is willing to accept drastic limits on asylum and a vast expansion of detention and deportation efforts, according to people involved in or briefed on the talks who requested anonymity to discuss the closed-door meetings.

Asked by reporters at Joint Base Andrews after returning Tuesday from a family holiday vacation in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands about what he intends to do about the border, Mr. Biden replied, “We’ve got to do something. They ought to give me the money I need to protect the border.”

Border security has emerged as a major political vulnerability for the president as he seeks reelection.

Additional reporting by Brian Dakss and Caitlin Yilek

Source: www.cbsnews.com

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