McAllen, Texas — There has been a surge of immigrants illegally crossing into the United States leading up to next month’s presidential election and they’ve been streaming through the streets of McAllen, Texas, on a daily basis. They have been taken to a migrant center at Sacred Heart Catholic Church where they were released by Border Patrol, with ankle monitors, while they file for asylum.
Agent Chris Cabrera told CBS News that they’ve been seeing a spike in immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, thanks in part to the election.
“The smugglers are telling them if Hillary [Clinton] gets elected, that there’ll be some sort of amnesty, that they need to get here by a certain date,” Cabrera said. “They’re also being told that if [Donald] Trump gets elected, there’s going to be some magical wall that pops up overnight and once that wall gets up, nobody will ever get in again.”
Cabrera added that they’ve encountered up to 1,000 immigrants along McAllen’s stretch of the border some days.
“We’re getting mass spikes of people crossing and turning themselves in,” he said.
Experts told CBS News the number of immigrants crossing the border won’t drop after Election Day.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly said as president the U.S. will build a wall along the Mexico border to keep out immigrants trying to enter the country illegally.
Earlier this month, Trump claimed the U.S. government is speeding up the citizenship process for immigrants on the waiting list so they can vote.
“They’re letting people pour into the country so they can go and vote,” Trump said during a meeting with the National Border Patrol Council.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has promised to propose immigration legislation in her first 100 days as president that would include a route to citizenship. Her approach is largely in line with that approved by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate in 2013 but turned aside by the House.
Trump has clarified that he opposes any pathway to legal status for immigrants in the U.S. illegally. They would have to return to their home countries and apply for legal entry should they wish to come back. He has not said what would happen to those who choose to stay, but said they are subject to deportation. Trump has also called for an end to “birthright citizenship,” currently granted to anyone born in the U.S.