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Eagle Pass international railway crossing reopens after Texas migrant surge


By Melissa Alonso, Priscilla Alvarez and Ed Lavandera, CNN

(CNN) — The international railway bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas, reopened Saturday after personnel were redirected earlier this week to assist with a surge in migrant crossings at the US-Mexico border.

The bridge was temporarily closed Wednesday following the declaration of a state of emergency by Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas Jr. due to the rising number of migrant apprehensions along the border.

US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement Saturday that field operations at the international railway crossing bridge in Eagle Pass resumed around midnight after resources had been diverted to “swiftly and safely vetting and processing migrants.”

“We continue to work closely with our partners in the Government of Mexico to ensure safety and security throughout the region and on railway networks,” the statement said.

The statement said vehicular processing operations at Bridge One remain suspended.

Migrant crossings along the border spiked earlier in the week, surpassing 8,600 over a 24 hour period, a Department of Homeland Security official said Thursday.

In response, the US Defense Department ramped up resources. Some 800 new active-duty personnel were dispatched to the southern border, where 2,500 National Guard members were already serving.

By Friday, however, the number of migrants crossing the Rio Grande into the United States near Eagle Pass had dropped by more than two-thirds compared to two days earlier, according to Salinas.

Between 800 and 1,000 migrants were apprehended Friday, Salinas said.

An estimated 3,000 migrants crossed near Eagle Pass on Wednesday, according to Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber.

Salinas said he believed one reason for the drop was the shutdown of train lines running to northern Mexico. He said migrants were possibly waiting for train service to restart.

CNN also observed a heavier presence of law enforcement barriers and military personnel along the Mexican side of the Rio Grande in the city of Piedras Negras.

Authorities have identified disinformation from smugglers, poor economies, authoritarian regimes and the climate crisis as forces driving migration.

Many who leave their homes for the US face long and dangerous treks in hopes of finding better, safer lives. Some flee violence, while others migrate for economic opportunities or to reunite with family, according to experts. Deteriorating conditions in Latin America exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic also have contributed to the migrant surge.

The latest wave of migrants at the border has put immense pressure on federal resources and tested President Joe Biden’s border policies.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.

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