US shuts interior checkpoints to focus on Mexico border

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (AP) — 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.”

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