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

The Mexican government set up a checkpoint near a gap in the border with the United States, widely used by migrants to cross into the country, CBS News reported.

The gap, known as the San Judas break, is located near San Diego, in California. The outlet indicated that is witnessed nearly 600 crossings over a four-day span.

Now, following the actions by the Mexican government, people have started using a different route, although a more complicated one: smugglers would take migrants by car and drop them off near the San Judas break, but now they are taking them to a spot that can't be reached by car and that requires hours of walking.

Even if the checkpoint doesn't deter migrants from seeking alternative paths to cross into the U.S., it adds to the recent actions by the Mexican government seemingly aimed at stemming the flow on its own soil.

Arrests for illegal crossings dropped by about half in January compared to December. And while a significant percentage of the figure could be explained by seasonal factors (crossings drop on colder months), another part could be attributed to the Andrés Manuel López Obrador administration.

Following a series of high-level meetings with U.S. officials at the end of last year, the government took a series of actions in that direction. Among them: they have been forcing migrants from freight trains they have used to get closer to its northern border, taking them back south via buses and carrying out deportation flights as well. Moreover, members of the country's military and national guard could be seen patrolling the banks of the Río Grande in January.

Tougher enforcement from the Mexican government could be key for the Biden administration in its quest to deal with what is now widely been described as a crisis, as well as the political impact it could have on Democrats in an electoral year.

A vast majority 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.

U.S. President Joe Biden visits El Paso
U.S. President Joe Biden visits El Paso. Photo by: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Overall, 78% of respondents said that the large amount of migrants seeking to enter the country is either a crisis (45%) or a major problem (32%).

The number of Republicans who call the issue a crisis is much higher than the Democrats who do so (70% and 22%, respectively), but a very low percentage don't think it's an issue at all: only 7% of Democrats said this, the rest calling it a major problem (44%) or a minor one (26%).

In that context, the Biden administration has taken a tougher stance on the issue, blasting Republicans for rejecting a bipartisan deal negotiated for months and accusing them of siding with a faction led by Donald Trump for political gain.

The rhetorical shift risks alienating some Democrats, but The Associated Press reported that the gain could be higher overall, something illustrated after the party's candidate Tom Suozzi won a special election in New York.

Suozzi "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," the outlet reported. He also shares Biden's stance on creating a path to citizenship for the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers."

Changing perceptions, however, won't be easy. A sizable amount of the population believes that President Joe Biden is mishandling the surge of migration at the U.S. southern border, citing this as the main reason why they disapprove of his work, according to a new poll by Gallup.

In fact, it's the issue that was cited the most among those who said they disapprove of him in the poll, with almost 20% of respondents. Economy-related issues followed suit, with 9% citing his handling of the economy and 5% mentioning inflation.

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