The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to sound the alarm about the crisis at the southern border — a crisis that now includes an “illegal immigrant superhighway” that could wreak havoc for U.S. immigration officials and their already-limited resources.
As IJR previously reported, DHS announced the apprehension of more than 100,000 migrants in the month of March alone. Because many of the detention centers used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are at capacity, Border Patrol was forced to release thousands of migrants into the U.S.
The migrants that are not released into the United States are kept in ICE facilities where they often receive medical treatment. As IJR reported earlier, immigration officials send as many as 2,000 migrants per month to receive medical attention.
The influx of migrant families in March likely put a strain on resources at the border, but it doesn’t look like immigration officials are going to catch a break anytime soon.
A senior DHS official said that migrants have been barreling through Mexico from Central America en route to the U.S., telling the Washington Times, “The result is an illegal immigration superhighway that’s flowing through Mexico.”
Mexican officials echoed that sentiment, noting that a caravan of around 20,000 migrant is currently on its way north.
This “superhighway” is one of the main reasons President Donald Trump announced foreign aid cuts to Central America for putting forward more effort to deter migrants. As IJR reported Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said he wants to see more effort put forward by these countries to help the U.S. address the crisis at the border.
“There’s a lot of good ways to help solve this problem [at the border]. Congress could do it, but they’re not going to. Mexico could help us do it, they need to do a little more. Honduras could do more. Nicaragua could do more. El Salvador could do more. And if we’re going to give these countries hundreds of millions of dollars, we would like them to do more.”
President Trump made a similar call to Democrats on Monday morning, taking to Twitter to ask that they work with Republicans to reform the asylum process in the U.S. so that migrants are not just released into the country when detention facilities reach capacity. Other Republicans echoed Trump’s points, calling for Democrats to take a serious look at the border.
The Democrats are allowing a ridiculous asylum system and major loopholes to remain as a mainstay of our immigration system. Mexico is likewise doing NOTHING, a very bad combination for our Country. Homeland Security is being sooo very nice, but not for long!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2019
Democrats, working with Republicans in Congress, can fix the Asylum and other loopholes quickly. We have a major National Emergency at our Border. GET IT DONE NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2019
Our border is being overwhelmed. It’s not debatable anymore. It is simple math at this point.
This solution is absolutely right. We need immediate reform to our asylum processing policies. We are a sovereign country and have the right to manage our immigration. https://t.co/OVdwpnnfvz
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) April 1, 2019
For now, it isn’t clear what the next step is for President Trump in addressing the “superhighway” through Mexico. Last week, he threatened to close the entirety of the southern border to prevent new migrants from entering, but it is not yet clear if he will take that step this week.