At the US-Mexico Border
Members of the Texas Army National Guard extend razor wire to inhibit migrants from crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juárez. Reuters

Unlawful border crossings into the U.S. have dropped and shifted drastically in January. According to government figures reported by CBS, migrant encounters have largely concentrated in Arizona and California while decreasing in Texas.

Overall, illegal crossings in the southern border went from a quarter million in December to 125,000 in January, according to preliminary data from the Border Patrol. The overall figure could be partially explained by seasonal factors, as lower winter temperatures can deter migrants from making the trip up north.

The geographical shift, however, could answer to different reasons. The outlet highlights that daily encounters in Del Rio, one of the epicenters of the record crossings last month, have plunged in the area, which is now practically sealed off by Texas National Guard members deployed by Governor Greg Abbott.

The Abbott administration has repeatedly clashed with the federal government over immigration enforcement, imposing unilateral measures such as the erection of barbed wire and the deployment of troops in Shelby Park, catalyzing legal battles as government officials were prevented from entering. The troops that answer to Abbott have been erecting razor wire fences despite a Supreme Court ruling that allowed the Biden administration to cut it down.

Governor Greg Abbott
Governor Greg Abbott VERONICA CARDENAS/Reuters

Although immigration law enforcement is under the jurisdiction of the federal government, Abbott claims the Biden administration has failed to enforce immigration law, leaving the state to fend for itself. Besides the aforementioned measures, Texas has sent thousands of migrants to Democratic-run sanctuary cities, New York, Chicago and Colorado among them, their leaders increasingly warning that their resources are strained.

Republican governors have rallied behind Abbott's efforts to deter illegal immigration. Last month, 25 of them released a joint statement, arguing that Texas has legal authority to defend itself because the Biden administration has failed to enforce immigration laws. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in fact, has sent National Guard troops from the state to Texas to aid Abbott in his effort.

In that context, Abbott hosted several Republican governors in Shelby Park, in Eagle Pass, on Sunday, and said that the decrease in crossings is consequence of the state's actions.

"The cartels have rerouted their routes to cross the border because Texas is the only state that's putting up any resistance," Abbott said. "Despite the fact that Texas represents more than 60% of the land miles of the border, the overwhelming majority now of people crossing the border are crossing in Arizona and California, two states that are putting up no resistance to illegal immigration."

The Biden administration, in contrast, has attributed the shift to actions by the Mexican government to stem the flow of migrants following a series of high-level meetings in December.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.