On Saturday (April 29), shelters in a Texas city struggled to accommodate migrants who officials said suddenly began crossing by the thousands from Mexico, testing the U.S. border, which is normally equipped to accommodate large groups of people fleeing poverty and violence.
The flurry of arrivals in Brownsville seemed to catch Texas’ southernmost city by surprise, extending social services and placing an overnight shelter in an unusual situation, causing them to turn people away.
Officials say over 15,000 migrants, primarily from Venezuela, have illegally crossed the river along the Southern border near Brownsville, located across the Rio Grande from Matamoros, Mexico, since last week.
That’s far higher than the 1,700 migrants encountered by Border Patrol agents in the first two weeks of April.
Gloria Chavez, head of U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector, described the rise in Migrants crossing the border as “quite concerning,” adding it was a “logistical challenge” for Border patrol.
The reason for the sudden rise was not immediately clear. However, Chavez noted migrants have become frustrated relying on the government’s gitch-plagued app, which enables them to apply for asylum at the port of entry.
Some of the migrants crossing the border this week cited other motivations, including cartel threats, that had immediately preceded the surge.
The rise in migrants comes as the Biden administration plans to end pandemic-era asylum restrictions. Which U.S. officials say could result in the number of illegal border crossings from Mexico rising to 13,000 a day, up from about 5,200 in March.