December 20, 2023


The U.S. Senate is wrapping up business today and will shortly adjourn for 2023, with no deal on a $110.5 billion “national security supplemental” spending package, requested by the Biden administration, to aid Ukraine and Israel and to fund border operations. Republicans continue to demand restrictions on asylum and other migration pathways, and a small group of Senate negotiators has been unable to come up with either a framework compromise or legislative language. The group pledges to keep trying, even “in the time remaining this year.” Congress returns on January 8.

The ACLU filed litigation, on behalf of El Paso County, Texas the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, and American Gateways, challenging the radical immigration law that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed on December 18. SB4 allows Texas police to arrest people on charges of irregularly crossing the border from Mexico, and to jail them if they don’t go back to Mexico. Statements from the governments of Mexico and Guatemala reject the new law.

A video shared by Texas Public Radio shows Texas National Guardsmen ignoring a migrant woman and baby crying for help in the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass. “Eyewitnesses attested that both mother and child ‘went under for a while’ after several minutes of struggling, before resurfacing again.” A federal CBP airboat speeds by, a few feet away from the woman and child, offering no assistance.

According to data that the Washington Examiner obtained from CBP personnel, U.S. authorities encountered 14,509 migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border on December 18. That’s probably about 13,000 Border Patrol apprehensions between ports of entry (official border crossings) and about 1,500 people reporting to the ports of entry, nearly always with CBP One appointments. It was the largest number of migrant arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border in any day since at least 2000, and it may owe to rumors circulating in Mexico that the U.S. government is about to close the border and shut down CBP One. The past few weeks’ increases in migration are unusual because they come after sharp decreases in migration transiting the Darién Gap and Honduras in November.

Arizona’s senators, Mark Kelly (D) and Kyrsten Sinema (I), wrote a letter to DHS officials calling for new Shelter and Services Program funding for humanitarian services amid large-scale arrivals at remote parts of the state’s border.

Two children from Guinea (Africa), aged 10 and 13, spent days on their own in the Bogotá, Colombia airport after being abandoned there. Bogotá is one of a few airports where migrants from Africa change planes along an emerging route that leads to Nicaragua, which does not require visas of most of the continent’s nationalities. From Managua, they travel to the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum.

Analyses and Feature Stories

Reporting mainly from the Darién Gap, the New York Times’s Julie Turkewitz found that “as migrants stream their struggles and successes to millions back home, some are becoming small-time celebrities and influencers in their own right.”

Following a visit to the Darién Gap’s gateway in northwestern Colombia, Dan Restrepo of the Center for American Progress recommended greater emphasis on “host community solutions” and “development finance tools” to integrate migrants in Latin American countries.

An increasing amount of punditry predicts that public perceptions of the border situation might provide the Trump campaign with the momentum it needs to win the 2024 election, even as the ex-president repeats “poison the blood” rhetoric paraphrasing Mein Kampf.

On the Right

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