San Diego Leads in Migrant Crossings and Releases


SAN DIEGO, California — San Diego recently emerged as the busiest Border Patrol sector for migrant crossings and the release of many migrants seeking asylum.

With Mexican authorities increasing patrols along train routes and transportation hubs to curb the flow of migrants, San Diego remains a key point of entry for migrants. Observations from various locations within the sector in April revealed efforts by the Mexican government to manage traffic, similar to other parts of the border.

In Jacumba, California, a previously bustling migrant crossing, now shows empty encampments. South of Jacumba along the border wall, Mexican “Guardia Nacional” soldiers stationed since February have succeeded in reducing migrant crossings.

Despite these efforts, a group of nearly a dozen migrants managed to slip through near a Mexican army camp and reached Interstate 8 by the In-Ko-Pa desert tower, where the Border Patrol had set up a rallying point on Sunday.

The rally point, previously crowded with migrants awaiting transportation for processing, now sits empty. Similarly, another nearby camp in Jacumba also shows no signs of the usual hundreds of migrants, thanks to increased patrols.

However, migrant traffic has now shifted into San Diego proper, making it the busiest crossing point along the southwest border, a status it hasn’t held in decades. According to a source within Customs and Border Protection, approximately one thousand migrants are being released daily into the community.

Many of these migrants, dropped off by the Border Patrol, have been seen at the Iris Avenue Trolley station near Otay Mesa, using public transportation to travel to other parts of the U.S. This group included migrants from countries like China, Cuba, Venezuela, and others.

Local politicians, including El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, have raised concerns about the increasing number of migrant releases. Wells has posted frequently on X (formerly Twitter) about the issue, highlighting the presence of migrants at the San Diego International Airport.

Customs and Border Protection reported 37,320 migrant apprehensions in the San Diego Sector in April, a significant increase from December 2020, when 8,510 migrants were encountered. Despite the shift in migrant crossings, the number of apprehensions in fiscal year 2024 remains similar to that of 2023.

More than 1,171,000 migrants have been apprehended by the Border Patrol since October, compared to nearly 1,254,000 in the same period in 2023, showing only a 7 percent decrease. Alongside the 2,400 migrants entering daily through “lawful pathways” under the CBP-One application, nearly 1.7 million migrants have sought asylum since October. Additionally, over 158,000 migrants have evaded Border Patrol apprehension. In total, nearly 2 million migrants have entered the U.S. since October, despite ongoing efforts to manage crossing optics during the election cycle in both Mexico and the United States.

Randy Clark
Randy Clark
Author and Border Patrol Retiree.

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