Brownsville, Texas, finds itself again at the center of a migrant release operation, as the Biden administration claims it is undertaking fresh attempts to address the growing influx of migrants seeking entry into the United States. Yet, despite recent efforts to stem the tide, downtown streets in South Texas border towns like Brownsville are crowded with newly released migrants, many Venezuelan nationals.
The Biden administration’s recent announcement of new immigration measures, including increased use of expedited removal authority and expanded parole processes for specific nations, has not stopped the flow of migrants arriving at the border. Encounters at the United States-Mexico border have risen by 25% from February to March, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The downtown streets of Brownsville, Texas, are once-again awash with recently released migrants waiting to depart the border city to other parts of the country. https://t.co/v4uebcffHJ
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) April 29, 2023
Migrants, such as Miguel, a 32-year-old Venezuelan national, have sold everything they own to finance their journey from countries that have provided refuge, like Colombia and Peru. For migrants like Miguel, the rule changes and promises to allow more migrants to enter are irrelevant. He says, “We have no choice but to cross into the United States at this point.”
The parole program for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, which began on January 5, has been credited with reducing some migrant numbers at the border. This program allows up to 30,000 migrants per month from each country to enter the U.S. However, CBP Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller acknowledges that more work needs to be done: “CBP will continue to enforce our immigration laws and ramp up efforts to combat smuggler misinformation as we prepare to return to expedited removal proceedings under Title 8 authorities.”
In Brownsville, busloads of migrants driven by Border Patrol agents and contract bus drivers arrive near a migrant charity shelter in the city’s heart. Hospitality volunteers from the shelter quickly usher the migrants into the facility. Occasionally, they are led to the nearby La Plaza bus terminal to purchase tickets to various parts of the United States.
Some migrants have been issued DHS smartphones, part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Alternatives to Detention Program (ATD). These devices allow migrants to let ICE know their locations and monitor messages related to their asylum petitions. However, not all migrants receive smartphones, leading to confusion and uncertainty.
Breitbart Texas reports that nearly 2,000 migrants crossed from Matamoros, Mexico, into Brownsville on Thursday alone, with almost 7,000 migrants crossing the Rio Grande since Sunday. Additionally, a Customs and Border Protection source, not authorized to speak to the media, reveals that nearly 700 migrants are released into downtown Brownsville daily.
With the end of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that allows for the immediate expulsion of migrants during public health emergencies, on the horizon, the Biden administration has begun testing faster asylum screening processes for migrants detained crossing into the U.S. without authorization. However, the challenges presented by increasing global migration remain significant, and the impact of the administration’s measures on border communities like Brownsville remains to be seen.