This month, Mr. Biden announced one of his most stringent immigration measures yet: a policy that will deny specific groups of migrants the chance to apply for asylum if they cross the border without authorization, instead sending them to Mexico.
Those measures were applied to people from Nicaragua, Venezuela, Haiti and Cuba — the four biggest sources of migration.
But in a concession designed to soften the blow of the new restrictions, Mr. Biden said that as many as 30,000 people per month from the four countries would be given the chance to migrate legally to the United States. In order to do so, however, they would have to be able to afford a plane ticket, get a sponsor, download an app, pass a background check and meet other requirements.
To help manage the continued influx of migrants, a 153,300-square-foot processing center with a capacity of 1,000 opened on Wednesday in El Paso, Customs and Border Protection officials said. But on Saturday, it was not at capacity, according to a gate officer. The new center opened at a time when the number of migrants who have been through processing in the area has decreased significantly. This week, 750 migrants were released, compared to 3,500 two weeks ago, according to the city of El Paso.
The diminished numbers were evident in downtown El Paso, where hundreds were milling about and sleeping in the streets near the bus station just a few weeks ago. Now that area is empty, and the hub for migrants is nearby Sacred Heart Church, where about 60 to 100 people congregate daily, although numbers are down, said Shannon Long, a church employee. “Most here could not claim asylum due to Title 42 and are not sure where to go now or what to do,” she said.
The city stopped using its convention center as a shelter last week, but is still providing portable restrooms and a bus near the church for men to sleep in when the temperature drops (women, children and some fathers are allowed to sleep inside the church).
Mr. Adams, a former police officer who has called himself the “future of the Democratic Party,” has grown increasingly critical of the Biden administration’s handling of the migrant crisis. He has repeatedly called for significant federal funding to help the city pay for shelter, food and school services for migrants.