Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenen visited El Paso Wednesday and said the immigration system has reached its breaking point.
McAleenan said CBP is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis with the biggest impact seen in El Paso.
McAleenan said on Monday, CBP started the day with over 12,000 migrants in custody. As of Wednesday morning, that number was 13,400.
McAleenan said because of overcrowding, two changes are taking place within the agency.
He said 750 CBP agents are being reassigned from ports of entry across the Southern Border to help Border Patrol agents with processing migrants.
Also, when ICE does not have room for more migrants, Border Patrol agents will have the authority to decide whether a migrant should be released or remain in custody.
McAleenan said contracts with more help and new facilities are also steps the agency is taking.
“We’re augmenting our law enforcement assets with contract support for migrant care and food services. We’re enhancing our transportation contracts and establishing new processing facilities, including a planned center here in the El Paso area,“ said McAleenan.
He said 65% of crossings who most often present themselves to Border Patrol agents are now families and children.