Migrants Cross US Border as CBP Agents Struggle to Cope Amid Shutdown

Monday, January 21, 2019
By Paul Martin


Border Patrol agents, as well as many other government employees, are currently working without pay as the longest government shutdown continues, with the impasse in talks between Trump and the Democrats remaining unresolved.

Border Patrol agents, who are continuing to fulfil their duties despite not being paid for roughly a month due to the ongoing government shutdown, are seeing large groups of migrants illegally crossing the southern US border and entering Arizona, NBC reported. One Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent, Fernando Grijalva, revealed that on 14 January, a group of about 84 migrants exited a bus that had stopped on a highway close to the border and literally just walked into the US unhindered.

His fellow agents managed to take pictures of the migrants, allegedly mostly coming from Central America, using their mobile surveillance truck, but could do little to stop them. He added that most of them were either families or unaccompanied minors.

A video recently released by the CBP showed a group of 376 migrants, almost half of them appearing to be children, illegally crossing the US border near San Luis, Arizona, after which they surrendered to Border Patrol agents for processing.

According to Border Patrol’s acting chief of the Tucson Sector, Jeffrey Self, a humanitarian crisis is taking place on the US’ southern border in terms of handling the incoming migrants. 20,000 border agents stationed in the southern US are continuing to process migrants’ asylum applications without being paid, but are still not coping with the influx; as a result, the CBP has had to shift its focus from fighting cross-border crime, such as smuggling.

A significant portion of government employees remain in furlough, while others are working without being paid, as the US government enters its fifth week of shutdown due to Senate Democrats refusing to support a bill that would secure $5.7 billion in funding for the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico.

Democratic leaders remain unwilling to negotiate on funding for the wall in talks with US President Donald Trump, despite the latter warning them that otherwise they won’t be able to end the shutdown.

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