Due to a surge in migrants filling California detention facilities to capacity, US Border Patrol agents in El Centro began dumping detained border crossers three hours north at the San Bernardino Greyhound Station last Wednesday, after the agency ran out of room to house them.
“It was a decision that was made because they couldn’t take any more families and obviously we cannot keep them in custody for much longer because we are at capacity,” said acting assistant chief patrol agent Miguel Garcia, according to Reuters.
Apprehensions of migrant families in California’s El Centro sector rose 383 percent in the seven months through April from a year earlier as record numbers of mainly Central Americans crossed the border, Border Patrol data shows.
In San Bernardino, long a transit hub for east-west travel and freight, immigrants were dropped off at the bus terminal by Customs and Border Patrol Agents to wait for family, friends or volunteers to pick them up. –Reuters
“We asked them where they were going to drop us off and they said at a bus station and there you might find some people who can help you, and that’s it,” said Angel Gonzalez, 34, who left Guatemala on April 25 with his 11-year-old son and traveled through Mexico before illegally crossing into the United States. The father and son stated at a CBP facility for six nights before their release in San Bernardino on Sunday, where they embarked on a ride to “join relatives in Arkansas,” according to the report.
Releasing detained migrants at Southwest bus stations is nothing new, as migrants are expected to return for their pending immigration court hearings to determine whether they can remain in the country legally. In December, ICE dropped off around 200 migrants at an El Paso Greyhound station without warning.
The influx of families has swamped U.S. Border Patrol stations built to house single adults, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has run out of space to hold them. –Reuters
Of note, El Centro is in Imperial County – right next to San Diego County, where the Trump administration began flying hundreds of detained immigrants from overcrowded facilities in Texas. Plans to send migrants to Florida and other states however were scrapped, with President Trump tweeting last week “There are no plans to send migrants to northern or Coastal Border facilities, including Florida.” In the case of San Diego, however, CBP officials confirmed that the migrant relocations had begun.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “I am very disappointed that Mexico is doing virtually nothing to stop illegal immigrants from coming to our Southern Border,” adding “Mexico’s attitude is that people from other countries, including Mexico, should have the right to flow into the U.S. & that U.S. taxpayers should be responsible for the tremendous costs associated w/this illegal migration…”
…Mexico’s attitude is that people from other countries, including Mexico, should have the right to flow into the U.S. & that U.S. taxpayers should be responsible for the tremendous costs associated w/this illegal migration. Mexico is wrong and I will soon be giving a response!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 21, 2019
According to Democrats, however, there’s no crisis at the border.