Border Patrol suspends rail service in Eagle Pass and El Paso due to immigration crisis

Authorities say criminal organizations have increased the use of freight trains to smuggle migrants into the United States.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that rail operations on the Eagle Pass, Texas, and El Paso, Texas, international bridges, which connect the U.S. with Mexico, will be suspended starting Monday at 8 a.m. due to the migrant crisis.

"After observing a recent resurgence of smuggling organizations moving migrants through Mexico via freight trains, CBP is taking additional actions to surge personnel and address this concerning development, including in partnership with Mexican authorities," CBP said in a statement on Sunday.

The objective of the temporary closure is, per the agency, to redirect personnel to reinforce the detention of illegal immigrants. This is the latest initiative in a series of actions taken by the agency, including the closure of the Lukeville, Ariz., border crossing, the suspension of vehicle processing at the Eagle Pass International Bridge 1 and a pedestrian entrance in San Diego‘s San Ysidro district.

An exclusive video from Fox shows hundreds of immigrants waiting to board a train heading to El Paso. "It got really bad," Maverick County Sheriff Beto de la Torre said in statements to Fox. De la Torre explained that these scenes were not uncommon, and that they are used to seeing unaccompanied children with personal information on their shirts. "It's really sad."

State actions

Just days before the announcement of the closure of the border bridges, the state of Texas released data on its own efforts to cut the flow of migrants. Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, the state has detained more than 489,500 illegal immigrants and filed more than 34,100 felony complaints.

"Texas has stepped up to hold the line against illegal crossings, cartel gangs, and human smuggling," said Governor Greg Abbott, who also said President Biden had "reversed the successful border security policies put in place under President Trump."

Texas also claims to have sent more than 80,000 immigrants on buses to sanctuary cities. With at least 12,500 destined for Washington, D.C., 29,300 to New York, 23,800 to Chicago, 3,300 to Philadelphia, 10,300 to Denver and 1,200 to Los Angeles.