Footage captured by Fox News shows the continuing mass release of illegal migrants into the U.S. interior as authorities are facing overwhelming numbers — with more than half a million hitting the border since October.
After a huge migrant caravan hit the border on Monday, Border Patrol started releasing migrants en masse onto the streets of El Paso, with Fox seeing dozens of migrants standing around and camping out on one single street corner.
Meanwhile, in Brownsville, Texas, Fox News witnessed repeated mass releases of several hundred migrants in a parking garage. Migrants were dropped off by the hundreds, at which point they walked across to a local non-governmental organization where they were given travel paperwork. From there they are free to take a flight or bus across the country.
Sources told Fox News that Border Patrol are releasing up to 10 busloads a day, a practice which Fox News has previously reported.
It comes as border authorities continue to face high numbers for what is typically a quiet period for the border — coming just days before the Title 42 authority which allows migrant to be rapidly expelled to Mexico is due to end by court order.
That looming end to the order has led to concerns that it is encouraging migrants to journey north now they potentially face a better chance of getting into the U.S. The Biden administration appealed the court order, which found Title 42 to be unlawful, but that appeal will not be in time to stop the ending of the order.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources have told Fox that there have been more than 500,000 encounters already this fiscal year, which began in October. There have been over 505,000 encounters, averaging at just under 7,000 a day. Of those, 162,547 have been expelled under Title 42.
That number is on track to outpace prior years. There were 517,000 encounters by the end of December in FY 2022, and FY 21 where there were just over 216,000 in the same period. In FY 2020, there were only 458,058 encounters for the entire fiscal year.
In the El Paso Sector, agents had 2,416 encounters in the last 24 hours. One Border Patrol agent told Fox that the numbers “continue to overwhelm exhausted Border Patrol agents, who continue to do their best in spite of the evident lack of support and leadership.”
CBP acknowledged that it has seen a spike in encounters along the border in recent days.
“Customs and Border Protection’s El Paso Sector on the Texas border with Mexico has seen an increase in encounters,” CBP said in a statement to Fox News on Monday afternoon. “In order to process individuals as safely and expeditiously as possible, Border Patrol agents from Big Bend and CBP Officers from El Paso Field Office are assisting with processing.”
The Biden administration has said that it has a six-point plan in place to deal with the surge in numbers when Title 42 lifts on Dec. 21. That includes increases in resources and staffing, a greater emphasis on anti-smuggling operations, greater cooperation with other countries and an increased use of alternative expulsion authorities such as expedited removal.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is in El Paso meeting with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. The DHS chief has had a difficult relationship with Border Patrol, and has recently been dogged by calls for him to resign from top Republicans and threats of a potential impeachment when Republicans take the House next year.
The promises of a whole-of-government plan from the administration has not softened concerns from both Republicans and Democrats, some of whom are working in Congress on a potential compromise that would include a one-year extension of Title 42.
Meanwhile, in Matamoros, Mexico — just across from Brownsville, thousands of migrants are camping out awaiting the ending of Title 42, which is now just eight days away.