Larger numbers of immigrant families crossing U.S.-Mexico border as El Paso prepares


(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP & KTSM) — Larger numbers of immigrant families have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in the first weeks of President Joe Biden’s administration.

Warning signs are emerging of the border crises that marked former President Donald Trump’s term: Hundreds of newly released immigrants are getting dropped off with nonprofit groups and there are growing accounts of prolonged detention in short-term facilities.

Measures to control the virus have sharply cut space in holding facilities that got overwhelmed during a surge of arrivals in 2018 and 2019.

To deal with the new influx, the Border Patrol on Tuesday reopened a large tent facility in South Texas to house migrant families and children.

Meanwhile, long-term facilities for kids who cross alone are 80% full.

On Monday, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said local leaders have been meeting regularly to plan for the potential of more border-crossers in the area.

“That’s the biggest issue we talk about,” Leeser said. “It actually takes up probably 80 percent of the meeting right now,” he added.

Leeser said the City of El Paso is also in regular communication with federal immigration agencies, the County of El Paso, local faith-based immigrant advocacy groups, and the Mexican Consulate.

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