HIDALGO, Texas — On a levee near the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge, there is a border wall with a gate that leads to trails, thick with vegetation and bugs, to the Rio Grande. On Tuesday night, Border Patrol opened the gate around 9:00 p.m. once family units and unaccompanied minors started to show up to the wall to turn themselves in.
One boy who said he was 8-years-old and from Honduras, crossed the Rio Grande by himself. He told me he was trying to find his parents who are already in the United States. By 11:30 p.m., close to 400 people came up from the Rio Grande to the border wall while four Border Patrol agents worked to process them all.
We’re now at over 200 people who illegally crossed the Rio Grande and are now waiting to be processed by Border Patrol in Hidalgo, TX. pic.twitter.com/rHNGhG37wd— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) August 4, 2021
With Custom and Border Patrol's apprehension numbers for July expected to be over 200,000, a new all-time high, the Biden administration is having trouble finding new ways to spin why large numbers of people continue to illegally cross into the U.S. despite it now being the hottest months of the year in states like Texas.
While "push" factors, such as poverty, violence, and government instability have long been reasons for people to leave countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, there are new "pull" factors that started when Joe Biden became president. These include the Biden administration's actions canceling the "Remain in Mexico" policy, ending asylum cooperative agreements with the Northern Triangle countries, halting construction on the new border wall system, and Title 42 no longer applying to many family units and unaccompanied minors. It is in addition to Biden attempting to halt all deportations for 100 days when he first got into office.
All those actions and rhetoric from the campaign trail signaled to people in Central America, and all around the world, that it is now easier to illegally cross into the United States.
A woman traveling with her young son, who said she was trying to go to Indianapolis, told me she came to the United States now instead of when Donald Trump was president because Biden was more "flexible" to her plight.
“Yes, he gave us more security and I think that he is more flexible with people since many of us have low resources," the woman said, adding, "And we come out with hope, mainly faith, we put it in God, and of course, with the word that somebody in the government is there, and has flexibility, and that still gives us more hope to want to mobilize and travel across all that."
She also explained the dangers they faced while making the trek north.
"One of our partners that came with us in another team, they were taken by other people in Mexico. They abducted them. I don’t know if they asked for 50k Mexican pesos to let them go. They shot one of them. Thank God they didn’t kill him. The shot came through here," she said while pointing to her head.
A girl in her teens who was traveling with her brother also told me it was easier to cross now with Biden being in office.
"Right now, like, crossing is good. Like it is authorized," she said.
While the family units and unaccompanied minors were being processed there were around 5 single adults who were apprehended and taken away to be expelled under Title 42.