BROWNSVILLE, Texas (Border Report) — Carrying toddlers on their shoulders, and plastic bags in their arms, thousands of asylum-seeking migrants are turning themselves into Border Patrol at the same abandoned golf course in this South Texas border town where numbers spiked in the spring just before Title 42 was lifted.
Law enforcement agents walk groups of tired, wet and bedraggled asylum-seekers on a dusty levee to an area that has been renamed Camp Monument.
Law enforcement officials walk a group of migrants on Oct. 1, 2023, to Camp Monument in Brownsville, Texas, for processing after they crossed illegally into the United States from Matamoros, Mexico. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)
There is a wide blue and white striped tent, a row of porta potties, a station for hand-washing and a separate building with fans for some cool from the triple-digit Rio Grande Valley humid heat.
RGV Chief Border Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez tweeted that over 3,000 migrants were apprehended in a two-day period starting late last week.
Just about 4,000 were encountered this weekend in the sector, she tweeted today on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. She said one group had 900 people.
“Amidst scorching temperatures, #RGV Border Patrol Agents & Supervisors from Brownsville, Harlingen, & Fort Brown stations continue to work tirelessly addressing this significant migrant surge,” Chavez tweeted.
She included photos showing dozens of migrants standing inside the dark building in a line, dozens on the levee walking in a line, and dozens on both sides of the Rio Grande — half on the U.S. side, half still waiting to cross from Matamoros, Mexico, and all behind concertina wire that has been put on the riverbanks.
Over 3,000 migrants crossed into Brownsville, Texas, in 48 hours, Border Patrol reports. (Border Patrol Photos)
Most are from Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia, she said.
And under Title 8 regulations that were put back in place when Title 42 was lifted in mid-May, most won’t qualify to remain in the United States.
That’s because in order to claim asylum they must cross at legal U.S. ports of entry, and they must schedule interviews with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials via the CBP One app.
Border Report asked Border Patrol what will likely happen to the majority who were apprehended this weekend and were told “immigration proceedings of each case are handled on a case-by-case basis, but it would be safe to say that the majority of migrant apprehensions result in an eventual removal from the United States,” Christian Alvarez, Border Patrol special operations supervisor, said Monday.
Just like in the spring, dust kicks up every time a bus comes and goes to take groups to CBP processing facilities.
The name Camp Monument was given to the area just before Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited on May 5 when upwards of 10,000 asylum-seekers per day were crossing here.
During his visit, Mayorkas promised the United States would not tolerate illegal migration and would take a hard line against those who enter illegally.
It’s just south of a college softball field, and the land once was a thriving golf course just blocks from the river.
Given the sheer number of migrants who crossed in the weeks leading up to the May 11 lifting of Title 42, officials feared the numbers would go through the roof once the public health order was no longer in place.
Instead, numbers dropped significantly. But now they’re apparently back.
Border Patrol process migrants under a tent on Oct. 1, 2023, in Brownsville, Texas. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report Photos)
‘Camp Monument’ has porta potties and a building for shade in Brownsville, Texas. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report Photo)
Several lawmakers have told Border Report that there are high-level talks occurring between leaders in the Western Hemisphere to cut access to the Darien Gap in Panama, where most cross through a dangerous section of jungle to make it to Central America.
Armando Garcia, 33, worked in the computer and camera surveillance industry in Venezuela. But he told Border Report he and a friend went through the Darien Gap because it was their only way to make it north.
He made it to the northern Mexican border town of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, where he said he waited for three months for an asylum interview scheduled on the CBP One app. And he said he was one of the lucky ones to get one of the 1,450 interview slots per day.
On Sunday, his interview at the Gateway International Bridge took just four hours. The bridge is a mile from where the thousands are illegally crossing into the golf course.
But the difference is that now Garcia has paperwork allowing him to legally be in the United States while his immigration case is pending.
“Thank God I’m legal,” he said in Spanish showing his paperwork.
“I want a better future for my family, my mother, my child, many people. We were waiting for this moment for a very long time,” Garcia said as he prepared to board a bus to Miami.
As for crossing the Darien Gap, he warned other migrants not to try it. He said it was so dangerous and he and his buddy feared for their lives.
“Those people shouldn’t come unless they have an appointment. I mean, they can come, but it’s recommended to wait for an appointment. And it’s better to get an appointment on CBP One. It’s safer and it’s the legal way,” he said.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.
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