Recent Numbers Show the Border Crisis Is Moving From Texas to California

By: Alex Trent | Published: Apr 22, 2024

After Border Patrol numbers in December showed record levels of border crossings, a debate broke out among Americans about what to do about it. In response to the elevated crossings, Texas took it upon itself to be a leader in border security, ramping up its enforcement efforts despite protests from the Federal government.

Now, according to the latest data, it seems like these border security measures are increasingly encouraging migrants to avoid the Texas border and try to enter through the area that leads to San Diego. This part of the US-Mexico border is the biggest land crossing point between the US and Mexico.

Changing Data

According to U.S Customs and Border Protection data from February, crossings were up 85% over the previous year in San Ysidro, the nation’s busiest crossing point, just 16 miles south of San Diego.

An agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection watching the border form his truck.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Wikimedia

Compare this to the data with Texas, which has seen its entry of illegal crossers decrease during this same period. According to CBS, crossing in Del Rio Texas decreased to a few hundred apprehensions a day in January. Just a month earlier in December, this same area had 2,300 daily migrant crossings.


San Diego Swell

According to the BBC, local officials in San Diego are reporting a massive swell in new arrivals that are being released into the city. After migrants are apprehended and processed at a facility they are then freed into San Diego at city train stations and bus stops where they either stay or travel to other locations.

An immigrant or migrant crosses the Tijuana-San Diego border wall.

Source: © Tomas Castelazo, / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Officials estimate that up to 1,000 people per day are being released at these train stations and bus stops.

Opinions of Californians

California is often seen as the nation’s largest Democrat stronghold. However, there is a diversity of opinions of the state’s residents on the border issue even among Democrats.

The Hollywood sign in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

466654/Wikimedia Commons

A UC Berkley Institute of Government Studies poll released in January found that 62% of California’s registered voters did not think the US borders were secure from illegal border crossings. Only 30% of poll respondents said they felt the border was secure.

Migrants Lining Up

Contrary to what one might expect, migrants crossing into this area of the border are actually happy to see Border Patrol agents. They wait in lines while carrying minimal clothing to protect them from the elements for the chance to be picked up. Meeting a U.S. border patrol agent now means they will be processed and allowed into the country.

Migrants, many with backpacks and children in tow, walk past law enforcement officers along a fenced path on a sunny day

Source: Wikimedia Commons

If they ran into Mexican authorities during their journey, they would likely have been deported further south.

Mexican Authorities Increasing Enforcement

CNN recently reported that border authorities in Mexico have recently started increasing enforcement to stop migrants from crossing. In one crossing area in Ejido Jacumé, Mexico, hundreds of people would pass through every day a few months ago sometimes ending up in the backyards of Americans in San Diego.

A close-up of the Mexican flag.

Source: engin akyurt/Unsplash

Now Mexican border patrols have been increasing in size, being supplemented by members of the Mexican Army and National Guard and keeping numbers down.


Abbott Clampdown

Some are attributing the progress Texas has made in stopping the influx of its border crossers to Governor Greg Abbott’s increased attention to the border issue.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is captured in mid-gesture, speaking passionately at a public speaking event

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In January, Abbott sparred with Joe Biden over whether or not he had to comply with an order to remove concertina wire installed on the edges of the Rio Grande to prevent crossings.


Border Tactics

Governor Abbott has repeatedly defended what some consider inhumane tactics to keep migrants from crossing into the United States. Abbott contends that these methods are necessary given that the federal government is not doing enough to solve the problem.

A close up shot of razor wire.

Source: Антон Дмитриев/Unsplash

“As opposed to detaining illegal immigrants, Biden has let them all loose, with no ability to accurately determine their whereabouts,” Abbott said during a press conference in February. “We’ve seen the catastrophic consequences of Joe Biden’s open border policy.”


Texas Spending

According to the Texas Tribune, the state’s recent success in reducing border crossings is due in part to a multi-billion dollar spending initiative.

The Texas State Capitol building in Austin seen in the daytime.

Source: Natilyn Photography/Unsplash

In three years, the state of Texas has spent more than $11 billion of taxpayer funds to secure the border through Operation Lone Star. This money has been used to install concertina razor wire on the border, bus migrants to cities like New York and Chicago, and construct a military base.


Biden-Made Crisis

Abbott spokesperson Andrew Mahaleris made recent comments placing the blame for the current situation on the border at Biden’s feet.

President Joe Biden, dressed in a dark suit and blue tie, is standing in front of a microphone and gesturing with his hands. Behind him is a blurred American flag

Source: POTUS/X

“The vast majority of the United States’ southern border is in Texas, and because of Texas’ efforts to secure the border, more migrants are moving west to illegally cross the border into other states,” Mahaleris said in a statement. “Until President Biden steps up and does his job to secure the border, Texas will continue utilizing every tool and strategy to respond to this Biden-made crisis.”


The President is Concerned

Despite an attitude in recent years of downplaying concerns for border security, President Biden has recently voiced a willingness to shut down the border as migrant crossings remain high and strain the resources of America’s cities.

Joe Biden wearing a suit speaking in front of a podium into a microphone.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Biden and Democrats blame Republicans for killing a previous border bill in the Senate that would have delivered more funding for Border Patrol agents and allowed Biden to act.


Shutting Down the Border

During a potential Congress border deal in January, Biden said he would be willing to shut down the border if given the opportunity.

Three U.S. Border Patrol agents in green uniforms are standing near all-terrain vehicles in a desert-like environment, with mountains in the background. In front of them, a group of individuals are seated on the ground

Source: USBPChief/X

“A bipartisan bill would be good for America and help fix our broken immigration system and allow speedy access for those who deserve to be here, and Congress needs to get it done,” Biden said.“It’ll also give me as president, the emergency authority to shut down the border until it could get back under control. If that bill were the law today, I’d shut down the border right now and fix it quickly.”