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Illegal Border Crossings Shifting to California and Arizona

The border wall in Sasabe, Arizona, near the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in 2021. Nick Oza/The Republic
The border wall in Sasabe, Arizona, near the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in 2021. Nick Oza/The Republic

Sources from the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said they’re seeing a trend in higher illegal border crossings in California and Arizona as Texas continues taking significant measures to shut down its border with Mexico.

According to officials, during the last week of January, around 72% of the Border Patrol's 32,809 apprehensions of illegal immigrants occurred in California and Arizona. Sectors like Del Rio, Texas, witnessed between 3,000 and 4,000 illegal migrant crossings per day. According to the CBP, out of the 32,809, 71.8% were in Arizona and California.

"The shift in illegal traffic at the border is a strong indication that deterrence works. Gov. Abbott has shown a willingness to use his authority in Texas to prevent illegal immigration, whether it is by erecting his barriers or using state law enforcement resources to apprehend illegal aliens – even before SB 4 has formally gone into effect," said Ira Mehlman, media director for Federation for American Immigrant Reform (FAIR).

The news from the border came after the Texas National Guard in January prevented US federal agents from accessing the 2.5-mile stretch of the border in the Del Rio sector. Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to temporarily allow President Joe Biden's administration to cut Texas's razor wire on the border, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott said his state would "not back down" in its efforts. CBP witnessed more than 302,000 migrant encounters in December of 2023, the highest one-month total on record.

Several Republican Governors throughout the country, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, have declared that they support Texas’s efforts to stop the flow of illegal migrants into Texas.

In Washington, the Biden administration is blaming Republican lawmakers for refusing to pass new legislation to grant the Executive branch power to act against the ongoing influx of illegal migrants, despite current laws on the books that allow the president to stop the flow of illegal migrants from Mexico into the U.S. As Congress and the Executive branch continue to argue over how to handle the ongoing border crisis, officials note that dangerous drug cartels are getting into the country and spreading illicit drugs like synthetic opioids and fentanyl into various communities in America, facing little obstacles.

"The criminal cartels have now moved more people to other parts of the border where state officials show no willingness to accommodate illegal immigration. Of course, no state effort to control the border can be fully effective so long as the Biden administration remains committed to not enforcing federal laws," Mehlman told The Foreign Desk.

Related Story: Border Patrol Catches Migrants Entering Arizona Through Floodgates Welded Open for Wildlife

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