U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will suspend operations at international railway crossing bridges in two Texas cities along the southern border in response to the recent resurgence of smuggling organizations using freight trains to move migrants through Mexico to the U.S. border.
In a statement released on Sunday, CBP officials said beginning at 8 a.m. on Dec. 18, the agency’s Office of Field Operations will suspend operations at the international railway crossing bridges in Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas in order to redirect personnel to assist U.S. Border Patrol with taking migrants into custody.
“CBP is continuing to surge all available resources to safely process migrants in response to increased levels of migrant encounters at the Southwest Border, fueled by smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals,” the statement read. “After observing a recent resurgence of smuggling organizations moving migrants through Mexico via freight trains, CBP is taking additional actions to surge personnel and address this concerning development, including in partnership with Mexican authorities.”
The move comes just days after thousands of migrants were seen on video, lined up along railroad tracks as a freight train passed nearly three hours south of Eagle Pass, Texas.
Border Patrols have been overwhelmed as they deal with unprecedented numbers of migrants, which, last Tuesday, topped 10,000 in a single day.
The week prior, there were reportedly 12,000 migrant encounters on a single day, breaking daily records and still at levels overwhelming agents in the field.
CBP said it plans to adjust its operational plans to maximize enforcement efforts against any noncitizen of the U.S. who attempts to use illegal pathways or processes to get into the country, as well as those who remain in the U.S. without a legal basis.
“Over the past several weeks, CBP has made a number of operational adjustments in order to maximize our ability to respond, process, and enforce consequences,” the CBP statement read. “In Eagle Pass, vehicular processing remains suspended at Eagle Pass International Bridge 1. In San Diego, California, San Ysidro’s Pedestrian West Operations remain suspended. In Lukeville, Arizona, the Lukeville Port of Entry remains closed.”
The Biden administration continues to take heat over the border crisis from Republicans and Democrats, as well as from state and local officials who claim the president has not provided enough resources.
In its defense, the administration said it is dealing with a hemisphere-wide crisis and has requested for more funding and comprehensive immigration reform from Congress, to fix what it calls a “broken” system.
The administration has requested an additional $14 billion in emergency supplemental funding from Congress, which includes $1.4 billion for “shelter and services” for migrants released from DHS custody. The money is in addition to $800 million handed out to states and non-governmental organizations to help deal with the many migrants released into the U.S.
That funding, though, has been stalled in Congress as Republican lawmakers demanded greater restrictions on asylum and humanitarian parole, a call which some Democrats have rebuffed.
Talks have been ongoing among Senate Democrats and Republicans and the Biden administration to try and resolve the gridlock, and Biden has said he is open to “significant compromises.”
The White House has reportedly expressed openness to restrictions, including a Title 42-style removal authority and expanded detention, but it is unclear whether that would be backed by Democrats or would be enough for Republicans — including those in the House — to get their support.
Adam Shaw of Fox News Digital contributed to this report.