San Diego Sector in Calif. new hot spot for unlawful crossings

(NewsNation) — The Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector in Southern California is seeing a steady rise in unlawful crossings by migrants. This has shifted some of the focus away from the place officials used to think was the hot spot for crossings: Texas.

Sources in Mexico tell NewsNation that Texas’ Operation Lone Star contributed to this. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021. Under the program, Abbott deployed members of the state’s National Guard to the southern border and installed thousands of concertina wire rolls along the Rio Grande.

As crossings in Texas have dropped, they have increased in California. San Diego became the busiest corridor for illegal crossings in April of this year, according to the Associated Press.

What makes the San Diego Sector unique is that migrants come from all over the world, including China, India, Turkey, Nepal, Brazil, Ecuador and Central America.

The journey to the United States

Turkish migrants interviewed by NewsNation said they paid around $12,000 to be smuggled into the United States. Their journey starts in Turkey, then they fly to Kuwait. From there, they go to Dubai, then Brazil, then they make their way through South America.

Once they cross into Mexico, migrants say, they are instructed through apps like Telegram on where to go next. Migrants who spoke to NewsNation said they went to Tijuana, where smugglers picked them up and then guided them to one of the open gaps in the border wall along California.

Local officials in San Diego say this brings national security concerns, as some migrants dump documents and identification cards before being apprehended by border officials. Federal agents tell NewsNation this is to avoid background checks.

Additional issues have come up as San Diego shelters are unable to house everyone released by Border Patrol with notices to appear in immigration court. More than 143,000 migrants have been released on the streets since Sept. 13, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond said in May, citing Border Patrol data.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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