U.S. Mexican Border Wall
U.S. Mexican Border Wall. Creative Commons

The change in immigration dynamics has continued to change as fiscal year 2024 (which starts in October 2023) continues. Arizona has solidified its status as the state with the most apprehensions, while illegal crossings through Texas have dropped.

Tucson is the busiest area within the state. Overall, authorities have arrested a little over quarter million people, the most of any region patrolled by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the southwest region of the country (between Texas and California).

That's a third of the total, which currently stands above 750,000. Del Rio, in Texas, and San Diego, in California, were the area that followed, with almost 170,000 and a little over 120,000 apprehensions, respectively. In contrast, California's El Centro and Texas' Big Bend were the areas with the least encounters (some 7,500 and 1,500).

According to CBS News, thousands of migrants have made their way to a remote area of Tucson, Sasabe, "undeterred by miles of border wall, violent Mexican cartels and a treacherous terrain with extreme temperatures."

Erin Waters, a spokeswoman for Customs and Border Protection, told the outlet that the agency had "redirected manpower" to the area to process the increasing number of migrants seeking to turn themselves in.

The amount of apprehensions dropped by about half between December and January, with colder weather among the likely reasons for the drop. However, over 124,000 people crossed the border, enduring trying conditions.

"Callous smugglers continue to push large groups of vulnerable migrants across the border during winter snow and rain conditions, through some of the most isolated locations along the southern border without proper clothing, supplies, or shelter," Waters told CBS. "Once aware of an entry, the Border Patrol prioritizes the humanitarian response to the migrants abandoned in the cold."

Some 50,000 of those people crossed through Tucson, a figure that amounts to 40% of the total. San Diego recorded fewer than half encounters, while El Paso and Del Rio saw fewer than 20,000 each.

Mexico border
Migrants detained by border patrol near Yuma Arizona U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Immigration dynamics seem to be close to a turning point, as the Biden administration considers implementing unilateral measures to stem the flow of crossings. After NBC News reported on Wednesday that the government is weighing making it harder to qualify for asylum and easier to quickly deport people who don't meet the criteria, CBS News indicated that it is contemplating a tougher measure: a sweeping presidential authority that allows him to "suspend the entry" of foreigners when it is determined that their arrival is not in the best interest of the country. Moreover, Axios said that the order would give the administration the ability to turn asylum seekers away if they cross illegally.

The measure would likely be met with resistance within more progressive factions of the Democratic party, which have already been conveying discomfort with the new, tougher rhetoric the President's been using.

However, Biden's rhetoric shift seems to be working for other registered Democrats, specially those in cities largely dealing with the migrant crisis.

In New York, for instance, Democrat Tom Suozzi gained a seat in the House, following a campaign that ran ads calling for more border security and featuring an interview he did on Fox News in which he supported U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Likewise, in Nevada, a critical swing state in November's election, Democrats are resonating with this new rhetoric.

Moreover, figures show that the border situation can be an electoral liability, as as almost 80% of people in the U.S. believe the soaring of crossings in the southern border of the country is a grave problem and that the Biden administration is not doing a good job addressing it, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.

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