5 big reasons to pay attention to what’s happening at the border right now | CNN (2024)

5 big reasons to pay attention to what’s happening at theborderright now | CNN (1)

More than 1,000 migrants wait to be processed by Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande on Monday in Eagle Pass, Texas. A surge of as many as 12,000 immigrants per day crossing the US-Mexico border has overwhelmed US authorities in recent weeks.


When it comes to the US-Mexico border, there’s often so much noise that it’s hard to hear — and see — what’s really going on.

I’ve coveredimmigrationfor more than a decade, through three different presidential administrations and through many different moments when people on all sides of the issue have warned of crisis conditions and authorities have appeared overwhelmed.

That’s happening once again. But a few different factors make this moment feel different. The situation is intensifying on several fronts that could have significant consequences both in everyday people’s lives and on the national political stage.

Here are five big reasons why it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on right now:

1.Many people rely onports of entry along the border. And we’ve seen a growing number of them closing.

In the past few weeks, the Biden administration has closed ports of entry to pedestrians or vehicles in Eagle Pass, Texas; Lukeville, Arizona; and San Ysidro, California.

On Sunday, officials announced they’d also be temporarily shutting down international railway crossings in Eagle Pass and El Paso.

Why is this happening? Officials say the number of migrants illegally crossing the border in some locations is increasing so significantly that they need to divert resources from ports of entry to handle the influx.

5 big reasons to pay attention to what’s happening at theborderright now | CNN (2)

A US Border Patrol agent speaks with immigrants at a transit center near the US-Mexico border on Tuesday in Eagle Pass, Texas. Most had crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico the night before.

US Customs and Border Protection blames misinformation from transnational criminal organizations and cartels for the recent spike. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens told CNN’s Rosa Flores recently that agents are “simply overwhelmed” and noted that closing the ports had freed up employees to help process migrants, but also came at a cost.

“It’s a consequence to our lawful trade and travel. Everybody’s feeling it right now,” he said.

Local officials say the port closures are having a devastating economic and personal impact on communities.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, said in a news release that the decision to close the port in her state “has led to an unmitigated crisis in the area and putArizona’s safety and commerce at risk.”

2.Trump is makingimmigrationa central focus of his campaign once again. But the words he’s using are changing.

Former President Donald Trump kicked off his 2016 election campaign with notorious comments describing Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. And in the leadup to the 2024 election, he appears to be doubling down.

As my colleague Zachary B. Wolf has noted recently, Trump’s “increasingly harsh language demonizing migrants” is reaching new extremes.

In a New Hampshire rally over the weekend, Trump drew comparisons to the language of Nazi Germany with comments about migrants from mostly Africa, Asia and South America “poisoning the blood of our country.”

5 big reasons to pay attention to what’s happening at theborderright now | CNN (3)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Saturday in Durham, New Hampshire.

The next day, Trump claimed, without evidence, that migrants are largely coming to the US from prisons and mental institutions. And he promised to reorient the US government to purge migrants.

Cracking down on illegalimmigrationwas a focus of Trump’s presidency, and there’s little doubt he’d prioritize the issue once again if reelected.

3. Biden seems ready to support the kinds of restrictions he previously criticized.

Before his election in 2020, President Joe Biden repeatedly vowed to roll back the immigration policies of his predecessor. But in the push to get Congress to approve more aid for Ukraine, the Biden administration has signaled a willingness to implement major restrictions that echo changes pursue by the Trump administration.

Negotiations are ongoing. But proposals under consideration include turning back migrants at the US-Mexico border without giving them the chance to seek asylum, expanding a fast-track deportation procedure to include more undocumented immigrants, and raising the credible fear standard for asylum seekers, sources told CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez and Camila DeChalus.

And immigrantrights groups are releasing increasingly frantic statements, decrying what they see as Biden’s willingness to trade away the lives of vulnerable people who are legally entitled to seekasylum. Frustrated by the lack of attention the issue was getting, RAICES said this week that it had bought a seven-story digital billboard ad displaying a shackled Lady Liberty in Times Square warning that “the end of asylum is dangerously near.”

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a statement urging Congress to pass his national security supplemental from the Roosevelt Room at the White House on December 06, 2023 in Washington, DC. Following a virtual meeting with G7 leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Biden called on Congress to take action on the security budget supplemental request which includes funding to support Israel, Ukraine and added security along the U.S.-Mexico border. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images Biden’s embrace of stricter border measures puts him at odds with key allies tasked with selling his reelection

For its part, the Biden administration is defending its track record, with a White House official telling CNN that the administration has led the largest expansion of legal immigration pathways in decades.

But advocates and some lawmakers say Biden is running the risk of losing support from key allies if he makes the concessions he’s reported to be considering.

“If he does go too far in the Trump direction, it’s going to be felt at the ballot box next year, no doubt about it,” Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla told CNN’s Manu Raju.

4. States are taking matters into their own hands. And the potential impact of a new law in Texas is huge.

Frustrated by what they call the federal government’s failure to secure the border, some state leaders are trying to take matters into their own hands. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican and outspoken critic of Biden, signed a new law this week that makes entering the state illegally a state crime, gives local law enforcement the power to arrest migrants and gives judges in the state the ability to issue orders removing them to Mexico.

5 big reasons to pay attention to what’s happening at theborderright now | CNN (5)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs three bills into law at a border wall construction site in Brownsville, Texas, on Monday, including a controversial measure that makes entering Texas illegally a state crime and gives local law enforcement the power to arrest migrants.

The stated aim of the law, which is scheduled to go into effect in March, is cracking down on illegal immigration. Advocates call the law unconstitutional and argue that it will fuel racial profiling in Texas, where 40% of residents are Latino.

The Republican author of the Texas bill has maintained that the measure is constitutional. But state officials may soon have to make their case for the new law in court.

Civil rights groups just filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to block it.

On the day Abbott signed the bill, protesters nearby said they were already afraid of the impact it could have on their communities.

5. In the US, the‘border’is everywhere.

Theborderisn’t just the 1,933-mile line that divides the US and Mexico. It’s something that can be seen in communities across the US.

And for months, we’ve heard many mayors –— including prominent Democratic leaders — saying their cities are struggling to handle an influx of migrants.

New York Mayor Eric Adams said earlier this year that the migrant crisis would “destroy” the city.

And an order he signed could soon lead to the eviction of thousands of migrants from city shelters as part of Adams’ plan to enforce a new 60-day limit for families. A similar 30-day rule for single adults has been in place for several weeks. Families who receive eviction notices can return to the city’s intake center to re-apply for a new shelter spot.

City officials say they need more support from the federal government, and Adams has said the city’s budget will have to be significantly cut in order to meet the needs of the ongoing crisis.

5 big reasons to pay attention to what’s happening at theborderright now | CNN (6)

Migrants line up outside the Jacob Javits Federal Building in downtown Manhattan on December 5.

The continuing pushback from local leaders in his own party could have political implications for Biden heading into the 2024 election, and may be one reason why these days, he appears more open to taking a tougher stance.

Any one of these storylines alone is significant news.

Looking at them all together, it’s clear things have reached a crescendo that’s impossible to ignore.

In the coming months, I’ll be watching what’s happening at the border closely.

Many things about the future are uncertain, but there’s no doubt that what we hear and see unfolding there is going to be a big part of the conversation in 2024.

CNN’s Rosa Flores, Sara Weisfeldt, Priscilla Alvarez, Camila DeChalus, Zachary B. Wolf and Gloria Pazminocontributed to this report.

As an experienced journalist and immigration analyst, I bring over a decade of firsthand expertise in covering immigration-related issues through three different presidential administrations. I have witnessed and reported on various moments when immigration concerns escalated, and authorities seemed overwhelmed. My extensive coverage includes a deep understanding of the complexities surrounding the US-Mexico border, which allows me to provide insightful analysis on the current situation.

The recent surge of up to 12,000 immigrants per day crossing the US-Mexico border has prompted me to examine the situation closely. Here are key concepts related to the article:

  1. Port Closures and Migrant Influx:

    • The Biden administration has closed several ports of entry in Eagle Pass, Texas; Lukeville, Arizona; and San Ysidro, California, citing a significant increase in illegal border crossings.
    • Closure of international railway crossings in Eagle Pass and El Paso has been announced to divert resources to handle the influx of migrants.
    • US Customs and Border Protection attributes the spike to misinformation from transnational criminal organizations and cartels, leading to overwhelming Border Patrol agents.
  2. Trump's Role and Rhetoric:

    • Former President Donald Trump is making immigration a central focus of his 2024 campaign.
    • Trump's language regarding migrants has become increasingly harsh, drawing comparisons to Nazi Germany and making unfounded claims about migrants coming from prisons and mental institutions.
  3. Biden's Policy Shifts:

    • President Joe Biden, despite initial promises to roll back Trump's immigration policies, is signaling a willingness to support stricter border measures.
    • Proposed changes include turning back migrants at the border without asylum opportunities, expanding fast-track deportation, and raising the credible fear standard for asylum seekers.
    • Immigrant rights groups express concern about Biden's potential concessions, warning of the end of asylum.
  4. State-Level Responses:

    • Frustrated with federal efforts, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law making illegal entry a state crime, granting local law enforcement the power to arrest migrants and facilitating their removal to Mexico.
    • Advocates argue the law is unconstitutional and may lead to racial profiling, prompting civil rights groups to file a lawsuit.
  5. Local Impact and Political Implications:

    • Mayors, including New York Mayor Eric Adams, voice concerns about their cities struggling with an influx of migrants.
    • Adams enforces a new rule potentially leading to the eviction of migrants from city shelters, signaling the need for federal support.
    • The pushback from local leaders, even within Biden's own party, could have political consequences for the 2024 election.

In summary, the converging factors of port closures, shifting political rhetoric, policy adjustments, state-level actions, and local impacts create a complex and urgent situation at the US-Mexico border, with significant political implications for the future.

5 big reasons to pay attention to what’s happening at the border right now | CNN (2024)


5 big reasons to pay attention to what’s happening at the border right now | CNN? ›

Yet two concerns come up most frequently: 22% point to the economic burdens associated with the migrant influx, including the strains migrants place on social services and other government resources. 22% also cite security concerns. Many of these responses focus on crime (10%), terrorism (10%) and drugs (3%).

What are the issues at the border? ›

Yet two concerns come up most frequently: 22% point to the economic burdens associated with the migrant influx, including the strains migrants place on social services and other government resources. 22% also cite security concerns. Many of these responses focus on crime (10%), terrorism (10%) and drugs (3%).

What are the main problems of immigration? ›

The social problems of immigrants and migrants include 1) poverty, 2) acculturation, 3) education, 4) housing, 5) employment, and 6) social functionality.

Why is Border Patrol a problem? ›

These enforcement programs pose a variety of threats to civil liberties: They implicate the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the constitutional guarantee of due process, and the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and freedom from discrimination based on race, ethnicity ...

What is the border crisis in Texas? ›

President Biden's reckless open border policies have created an ongoing crisis at our southern border as record levels of illegal immigrants and deadly drugs pour into Texas. Texas is taking historic action to respond to this border crisis.

Where are migrants going? ›

New Migrants Made Up More Than 2% of People in Some Counties

The data also suggest that New York state saw the highest number of migrant arrivals in 2023 on a per capita basis: 1 per 100 residents of the state. New Jersey and Florida were next at 0.9.

Why do immigrants come to the United States? ›

People immigrate to the US to work, reunite with family, study, or seek personal safety.

What are the 5 effects of migration? ›

Migrants eventually induce social, economic, and political problems in receiving countries, including 1) increases in the population, with adverse effects on existing social institutions; 2) increases in demand for goods and services; 3) displacement of nationals from occupations in the countryside and in the cities; 4 ...

What are the top issues in the US today? ›

The public's list of the top problems facing the nation includes inflation, health care affordability, drug addiction and gun violence. Yet the ability of Republicans and Democrats to work together rates about as high on the problems list as these other concerns.

What are 2 problems faced by immigrants? ›

1) Adolescent girls are likely to encounter difficulties because they are forced more frequently than boys to conform to traditional behavior patterns. 2) Youngsters have to learn that everyday life is heavily family-oriented, and that social control is very strong.

How to fix the border crisis? ›

Congress needs to dramatically increase resources so that the current system works more efficiently, and we also need to reduce pressures on the system—at the border, in the immigration courts, and in local communities—by creating more secure, orderly pathways for people to come to the United States.

What states are backing Texas? ›

As of today, 14 states—including Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming—have stepped up to support Texas' efforts and deployed personnel and resources to secure the border in President Biden's absence.

Who is responsible for border control? ›

DHS's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for securing U.S. borders at and between ports of entry.

What is the new border law in Texas? ›

This new law would make it a state crime to cross the Texas-Mexico border between ports of entry. If a police officer believes they have evidence that a person illegally crossed the Rio Grande, that person could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of up to six months in jail.

Does Texas have a right to protect the border? ›

Texas has a clear right to defend itself from the drug smugglers, human traffickers, cartels, and legions of illegal aliens crossing into our State as a consequence of the Biden Administration's deliberate policy choices,” said Attorney General Paxton.

Is the US Mexico border open to immigrants for 3 minutes? ›

U.S. Border Patrol agents recently opened the so-called Door of Hope, a maintenance door in the fence on the U.S.-Mexico border, to let a handful of families reunite face to face for three minutes. The moment was filled with tears and long-awaited hugs.

What are the negative effects of immigration? ›

Immigration increases poverty in two ways: a) by increasing labor market competition it lowers wages for native- born workers, forcing more of them into poverty; and b) the immigrants themselves are often poor.

What were negative effects of immigration? ›

But high levels of immigration can put stress on the budgets of state and local governments. States and cities with large numbers of immigrants often have to invest more money in public education and other services immigrants receive than they collect in taxes from those populations.

What were the main reasons nativists opposed immigration? ›

Thus, nativism has become a general term for opposition to immigration which is based on fears that immigrants will "distort or spoil" existing cultural values. In situations where immigrants greatly outnumber the original inhabitants, nativists seek to prevent cultural change.

Are immigrants good for the economy? ›

For example, immigrants also help counteract the slowing growth rate of the U.S. population, which helps drive the expansion of the labor force and contributes to overall economic growth. The U.S. labor market benefits from the contributions of immigrant workers.


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