EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Hundreds of migrants lit small fires Sunday night as they waited in a long line on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande after crossing illegally into El Paso.
Buses carrying close to 800 migrants arrived from the interior of Mexico at a Juarez shelter on Sunday. But many of those migrants promptly made their way to the border and crossed with hopes of surrendering to Border Patrol agents and asking for asylum.
On Sunday evening, as temperatures hovered around 50 degrees, migrants could be seen huddled around several small campfires about 20 feet apart as they waited for agents to call them into the Border Patrol West Bridge processing camp in El Paso, Texas.
The influx of migrants intensifies as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas plans to visit El Paso on Tuesday. According to a DHS news release, Mayorkas will meet with CBP employees, review operations, and meet with local officials and organizations.
Early Sunday, buses carrying migrants arrived at the government-run Leona Vicario shelter in Juarez, which sits inside a former factory on a gated lot with soldiers patrolling the entrance. Soldiers fed the migrants and handed out water and warm clothes.
On Thursday, a caravan of about 1,200 migrants crossed the Durango-Chihuahua border on foot. Local authorities quickly routed the migrants to a gym and other government facilities in the city of Jimenez, state officials confirmed.
The governor of Chihuahua said she had halted the caravan to ensure the health and safety of Central- and South Americans making their way to the U.S. border.
El Heraldo de Chihuahua reported Friday that another migrant caravan of at least 1,000 people is approaching Chihuahua even as authorities haggle about what to do with the first group.
The mayor of Jimenez broke the impasse between the two upper spheres of government by providing free buses so the migrants could go to Juarez. But after the migrants spend Saturday night in Juarez shelters, hundreds began making their way to the Rio Grande.
A KTSM/Border Report photo crew witnessed the crossing into the United States of more than 1,000 migrants on Sunday. The migrants, many of them stating they were Nicaraguan nationals, walked over rocks placed over foot-high water in the Rio Grande and turned themselves in to the U.S. Border Patrol.
On Monday morning, another group of about 600 began crossing the river. Once border agents at the West Bridge camp take down the migrants’ names and ask for identification, the asylum seekers are sent to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Central Processing Center for further vetting. After that, they are either released on parole pending their U.S. court dates or are expelled from the country under the Title 42 public health order, which is set to expire on December 21.
That’s a process that usually takes around three days.
On Monday morning, at least two El Paso nonprofit shelters reported being at capacity – a situation expected to turn more critical as caravan members are released.