San Diego Emerges as Top Entry Point for Migrants in 25 Years


For the first time in a quarter-century, San Diego, California, has emerged as the top entry port for migrants.

In April, Border Patrol recorded 37,370 individuals who crossed into the San Diego Sector illegally and sought asylum.

The Border Patrol organizes the United States into 20 sectors geographically, with nine positioned along the Mexico border. Following San Diego, the Tuscan Sector in Arizona reported the next highest number of migrant crossings in April with 31,240 migrants, while the El Paso Sector in Texas saw 30,410 migrants.

By the conclusion of fiscal 2023, ending on Sept. 30, nearly 230,000 asylum seekers crossed illegally into the U.S. via the San Diego Sector. In the first seven months of fiscal 2024, Border Patrol agents tallied 220,000 individuals. This sector is on course to reach its highest yearly count of immigrants since the late 1990s.

Owing to the increasing pressures from the rising number of immigrants, a center in San Diego County dedicated to assisting border crossers shut down in February. The center was operated on a $6 million budget, and now faith-based organizations, which have been allocated $150 million by the state, must shoulder the responsibility.

Many churches and nonprofit groups now facing the challenge of aiding new arrivals are struggling to manage the surge. Consequently, Border Patrol sometimes transports migrants to a trolley hub or the airport, where they might camp at baggage claim for days while waiting for flights to their final destinations.

Texas has taken steps to pass legislation that would empower local and state law enforcement officers to arrest and deport individuals who have crossed the border illegally. Although this law is currently blocked, it could significantly impact the number of migrant crossings if enacted. The surge of migrants entering through San Diego may be linked to widespread organized crime in regions south of Arizona and Texas.

Elaine Mallon
Elaine Mallon
Breaking news reporter.

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