‘We Are Not Equipped to Deal With This.’ Migrant Surge Overwhelms U.S. Border

Migrants who were brought in for processing by Border Patrol agents in Sásabe, Arizona, on Tuesday. At a remote spot in the Arizona desert, near a hole in the border wall, dozens of migrants huddled over wood fires. After fleeing war in Sudan, violent gangs in Central America or Mexican cartels, the men had all crossed into the United States illegally, walked on foot over rugged terrain for hours, and arrived at this outpost exhausted, hungry and cold. They wanted to turn themselves into the authorities to ask for asylum, but were stranded here, miles away from the closest town, Sásabe. Then, as temperatures dropped on Tuesday night, a convoy of Border Patrol agents rolled in, loaded the men into a van to be processed and sped away — off to search for more people in need of rescue. “We are not equipped to deal with this,” Scott Carmon, a Border Patrol watch commander, said while surveying the muddy encampment. “It’s a humanitarian disaster.” This is the crisis unfolding at the southern border, as migrant encounters once again hit record levels and test the capacity of American law enforcement to contain an explosion of illegal crossings with far-reaching repercussions for the Biden administration. Thousands of migrants are arriving at the border every day, trekking from the farthest reaches of the globe, from Africa to Asia to South America, driven by relentless violence, desperation and poverty. In May, the Biden administration briefly celebrated when crossings declined, even after pandemic-era border restrictions were lifted and many feared the floodgates would open. But the numbers have spiked in recent months, provoking sharp criticism from both parties and fears within the administration that the issue will damage Democrats’ electoral future. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, third from left, meeting with President Andrés […]

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By Donato