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Reporting from the banks of the Rio Grande
Earlier this week, I saw a family of migrants wade across the frigid Rio Grande from Mexico into Eagle Pass, Texas, just as Speaker Mike Johnson held a press conference on the riverbank.
The family was part of a surge of migrants crossing the border illegally in recent months in what members of Congress call a crisis.
Speaker Johnson and more than 60 House Republicans traveled to the border to make their case for tighter border restrictions in exchange for aid to Ukraine.
The border area that had been packed with migrants just days before sat empty during their visit. Surges of border crossings can be unpredictable and illegal crossings dip near the holidays. The news conference itself may have been a deterrent.
Law enforcement officers on airboats help people in the river, shouting instructions in Spanish. The roaring boats also deter migrants from crossing.
After asylum seekers turn themselves in to officers at the border, they are taken to immigration processing centers. From there, they are often released to private shelters and then make their way to other parts of the country.
I watched the family board a bus that would take them to a processing center. There seemed to be a sense of relief that they had made it to the U.S., but also a sense of tension.