The Latest: US will reassign 750 border inspectors
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — The Latest on growing numbers of migrants arriving at U.S. border with Mexico, many of them Central American asylum seekers (all times local):
U.S. authorities are reassigning 750 border inspectors to care for growing numbers of Central American families arriving at the Mexican border.
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday in El Paso, Texas, that the temporary assignments will lengthen wait times at border crossings, hurting international trade and creating delays as the busy Easter holiday nears. He says the move is necessary to address what he calls an “operational crisis.”
Border arrests sharply increased in February and March is shaping up to be even busier. McAleenan says the agency is on pace for more than 100,000 arrests and denials of entry on the Mexican border this month. More than 55,000 will have arrived as families, including 40,000 children.
McAleenan says he doesn’t know how long the officers at ports of entry will be reassigned.
U.S. immigration authorities are temporarily closing highway checkpoints in New Mexico and much of West Texas to shift their focus to an influx of Central American families arriving at the Mexican border.
The Border Patrol is assigning agents to processing migrant arrivals and converting the checkpoints into staging areas to help accommodate the growing numbers. Last week, 430 migrants were detained in El Paso, Texas, in just three hours.
The checkpoints, located up to 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the border, are designed to be a final line of defense against illegal crossings.
The unusual move comes as the Trump administration says the border is in a state of crisis. CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will be in El Paso, Texas, Wednesday to discuss “the dramatic increase in illegal crossings.”