Asylum-seekers being flown from the Rio Grande Valley to El Paso due to limited capacity are being expelled to Mexico by CBP, according to the Dallas Morning News. Exact numbers are unclear, but at least 50 migrants have been expelled into Juarez.
El Paso will begin receiving two flights per day, each carrying 135 migrants from the Rio Grande Valley sector. The migrants will be processed in El Paso and stay at shelters until arrangements are made for them to connect with family in the United States.
Some Remain in Mexico enrollees are being allowed into the United States as of Friday, February 19, first at the San Diego port of entry and later through Brownsville and El Paso as well. Processing will be slow at first, with only a few hundred entering per day.
Two migrants sustained serious injuries after falling from the border wall near New Mexico and were expelled to Mexico instead of receiving medical attention, despite not being able to stand on their own.
- In the El Paso sector, CBP announces the death of a pregnant 19-year-old woman from Guatemala, Miriam Estefany Girón Luna, after she fell from the border barrier near Clint, Texas. CBP blames human smugglers from Mexico for “encouraging her” to climb the barrier. Tekandi Paniagua, a Guatemalan consular official based in Texas, instead indicates the shifting migration dynamics at the border due to the asylum roadblocks implemented by the U.S. government, as migrants cross the border using far more dangerous methods out of desperation.
- Senior CBP officials announce they are sending 80 soldiers to El Paso, Texas, and 80 to San Diego, California, in response to the recent court ruling preventing the government from enforcing the Remain in Mexico program after March 11. While sent to provide support to officers at official ports of entry, these 160 soldiers are not expected to conduct immigration processing or enforcement.
- National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd announces that the FBI is investigating the disappearance of approximately $500,000 from the union’s El Paso branch. Forensic auditors found that $352,389 was misappropriated while another $150,035 was not properly paid to the IRS in tax money. Rumors of a long-running embezzlement scheme had been circulating through the ranks of CBP since 2018.
- Smugglers in Juárez use camouflaged, rebar hook-and-ladders called castillo to bypass the border wall. CBP reports that the ladders are difficult to detect after spending this week dismantling those found in the El Paso sector. Six meters of castillo costs approximately $5 and is sold in hardware stores. CBP reports the most likely users of ladders are single adults.