U.S. Customs and Border Protection increases screening at international points of entry
Dozens of asylum seekers who showed up Friday to the McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge have been transported into the United States for processing, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed to CBS 4.
On Monday morning, CBS 4 observed CBP officers standing midway along the bridge, checking the identification cards of people coming into the U.S.
One man from Reynosa was turned away by these officers. He says he's been traveling from Mexico to the U.S. for business purposes for more than ten years and has never been turned away.
"We found out that they are asking us for the visa or documents to go to UETA, something that, for a very long time, they have not asked of us," said Israel Flores in Spanish.
Some, including El Paso-based immigration attorney Carlos Spector, say the recently implemented CBP approach is a way of circumventing the law.
"It’s all part of a broader deterrence policy,” Spector said. “Everything they are doing is to deter people, to discourage people from coming in."
A CBP spokesperson sent CBS 4 the following statement:
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is taking a proactive approach to ensure that arriving travelers have valid entry documents in order to expedite the processing of lawful travel. That being said, CBP processes undocumented persons as expeditiously as possible without negating the agency’s overall mission, or compromising the safety of individuals within our custody. The number of inadmissible individuals CBP is able to process varies based upon case complexity; available resources; medical needs; translation requirements; holding/detention space; overall port volume; and ongoing enforcement actions.”