Stay tuned...More to come
The last few weeks folks have been asking me about the border. Just 'cause it ain't in the news doesn't mean it is quiet...
The PedWest San Ysidro pedestrian border crossing opened in July of 2016. The pedestrian bridge and crossing facility is located just west of the southbound vehicle El Chaparral crossing and has 14 lanes—12 northbound and 2 southbound. PedWest was meant to supplement the original pedestrian crossing east of the northbound vehicle crossing lanes at San Ysidro.
The U.S. side of the facility leaves pedestrians in the new Virginia Avenue Transit Center, next to the Las Americas outlet mall. The entrance for the northbound PedWest bridge is just north of Plaza Viva Tijuana, accessed by Colonia Federal or by walking over the bridge from the Plaza de Artesanias.
After being closed for nearly three years, the northbound lanes of Ped West resumed operations eight months ago, albeit under limited hours.
The pedestrian crossing has closed once again.
We might have seen this in the news but as usual, it is a game of sleight-of-hand it would seem in the news and political arena. Border is off the agenda this week and Hunter is on it so we will see when this becomes the major focus…
Temperatures are down so no longer are record-breaking temperatures slowing migrant travel so here they come. The closure of PedWest is due to an influx of migrants along the Tijuana-San Diego border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it needs the facility to process the asylum-seekers since other facilities in the area have been operating at maximum capacity.
Throughout last week one could see a constant flow of Border Patrol buses and field vehicles driving into the backside of PedWest.
According to CBP, the migrants brought to PedWest will be primarily family units or unaccompanied children.
The problem is growing once again all along the border. Area nongovernmental organizations are again sounding the alarm on a humanitarian crisis looming at El Paso’s doorstep – fearing U.S. Border Patrol will soon have to release hundreds of migrants to the streets as holding facilities and shelters are bursting at the seams.
Many migrants have already been sleeping on sidewalks, alleys and other public spaces in Downtown, South and South-Central El Paso – some for several weeks – as they time out of shelters or are turned away because of lack of space.
The average number of migrants in custody in the El Paso sector has fluctuated between 4,000 to more than 5,500 daily the past five weeks, leading to the Border Patrol releasing between 2,000 to 3,600 migrants from custody a week in that same time period.
Meanwhile, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is still dealing with a staggering amount of unaccompanied minors.
HHS activated property on Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas, on March 30, 2021, to serve as an Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for unaccompanied children. On May 30, 2022, the site transitioned to an Influx Care Facility (ICF), which provided shelter for boys and girls, 13 to 17 years old. On June 30, 2023, the facility was placed in warm status, which means the facility is not fully staffed and there are only minimal onsite facility management services. The “closure” of the site followed reports from whistle-blowers about the site itself and the care the children were or weren’t receiving.
This week, the Biden administration reopened the facility for unaccompanied migrant children in response to the marked increase in crossings along the southern border.
HHS reopened the site, which it calls an "influx care facility," after bed capacity at its traditional shelters dwindled over the last month. The Pecos facility, which is currently able to house up to 500 migrant teenagers, welcomed a group of unaccompanied minors on Tuesday and appears to be at capacity.
HHS is working to open another influx housing facility at a former boarding school in Greensboro, North Carolina. While the Greensboro site was set to open last month, it has no current activation date that I can uncover at this time.
All this to say, travel conditions have greatly improved and as I have written before, this influx is hardly unexpected although those involved still appear to be reacting and not preparing. It seems that Border Patrol is being forced to release great numbers each week not because proper vetting or even processing has or has not occurred but because there is just no room in the Inn.
According to Art Del Cueto, the National Vice President of the Border Patrol Union. Migrants are being released “because there's so many people that are coming in. The capacity of the detention facilities is only at a certain point, and right now, it's a complete overflow.”
I recommend that my readers spend time listening to The Green Line Podcast (https://www.radiogreenline.com) to hear more from Art Del Cuerto.
What comes next? Hard to tell. We had a long summer of high heat and nearly impossible travel conditions to prepare. They are coming whether we are ready or not.