US Mexico border/AFP
The United States and Mexico are divided at Eagle Pass by the Rio Grande river. This is a representational image. AFP

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) suspended two rail operations in Eagle Pass and El Paso -- both operating between Texas and Mexico -- amid a surge in migrant smuggling by train.

The CBP issued a statement Sunday to announce that in the wake of a continued surge in migrant smuggling via freight trains, the federal agency took this action in collaboration with Mexican authorities.

"CBP's Office of Field Operations will temporarily suspend operations at the international railway crossing bridges in Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas in order to redirect personnel to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with taking migrants into custody" from Monday onwards, as per the official statement.

However, the CBP did not mention details regarding the rise in migrants.

The agency said that it will continue to prioritize border security missions as it was important to address the migrant issue in the country. It added the CBP continued to make "operational plans to maximize enforcement efforts against those noncitizens who do not use lawful pathways or processes such as CBP One™ and those without a legal basis to remain in the United States."

The CBP further disclosed that over the past few weeks, the agency made several operational adjustments intending to maximize its ability to respond, process and enforce consequences.

"In Eagle Pass, vehicular processing remains suspended at Eagle Pass International Bridge 1. In San Diego, California, San Ysidro's Pedestrian West operations remain suspended. In Lukeville, Arizona, the Lukeville Port of Entry remains closed," it added.

CBP also urged people willing to travel via these routes to check the operational status, including Port of Entry wait times here.

Last month, federal forces in Mexico rescued seven immigration agents, who were kidnapped, beaten up and threatened to be killed by suspected drug cartel gunmen. The kidnapping comes as many migrants are leaving their countries due to economic and political crises.

Mexico's immigration agency revealed last month that 123 migrants hoping to reach the U.S., including 34 children, were rescued from a locked trailer.

After Mexico witnessed a three-month surge in illegal border crossings, the country saw a 14% decline in illegal border crossings in October in comparison to September.

The surge in migrants increased after the Biden administration's move earlier this year to launch an online appointment system that would allow migrants to claim asylum. More than 44,000 people have reached Mexico with the appointment since January.

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