The pictures say it all: America is overwhelmed.
At the southern border, migrants camp out in a muddy no-man’s land between California and Mexico.
Some 2,500 miles away, buses crammed with migrants leave Manhattan through bridges and tunnels — an effort by struggling New York City officials to shift the problem to smaller cities upstate.
Immigration monitors predicted a surge of migrants when pandemic-era entry restrictions lapsed earlier this month.
It did not materialize, but millions of asylum seekers and other migrants without papers had already entered the country.
Some had packed possessions into plastic bags and waded through the Rio Grande river, carrying children on their shoulders.
Migrants cross the Rio Grande River to enter the US, in Matamoros, Mexico, as pandemic-era rules came to an end
After crossing the Rio Grande river, migrants await processing by US immigration officials during a vicious sandstorm in El Paso
Border Patrol officers processing immigrants in Yuma, Arizona
Migrants put their arms between the bars of the wall to grab the food delivered by volunteers. Some 400 migrants, all families, were camped out on US soil in the no man’s land between Tijuana and San Diego after crossing the border illegally
Mexican National Guard soldiers and local police put on a show of force along the Rio Grande river border in Ciudad Juárez, in Mexico
From coast to coast, sanctuary cities are struggling to shelter the new arrivals.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams this week asked a judge to let the city suspend its obligation to shelter any homeless migrants.
About 70,000 asylum seekers have arrived in the Big Apple since last spring – mostly folks who traveled up to the US overland through Mexico.
The city spends $8 million a day to house the 37,500 asylum seekers in shelters.
Adams has called on President Joe Biden and the White House to stump up cash for America’s cities.
Biden has ‘failed this city,’ he said last month, in an unusual rebuke from one Democrat to another.
The cash-strapped mayor has even started sending migrants upstate to destinations like Newburgh.
People board a bus outside New York City’s Roosevelt Hotel, a disused landmark that’s used for processing an unusually large number of migrants
Parents and community members chant as they march around P.S. 189 in Upper Manhattan to protest New York City Mayor Eric Adam’s plan to temporarily house immigrants in the school’s gymnasium
Migrants from African countries like Burkina Faso, Egypt and Mauritania, in Newburgh, after being relocated from New York City
Among them is 19-year-old Mohammed, an asylum seeker from Mauritania who entered overland from the US.
‘It’s like the desert,’ Mohamed said of the small city on the Hudson River, where he struggles to find work.
‘There’s nothing here for us.’
Though thieves ransacked Mohamed’s few remaining possessions when he stayed at an overcrowded 40-bed shelter in Brooklyn, he wants to return to New York.
‘There, no one cursed at you and said ‘go back to your country’,’ he told AP.
The plight of migrants was spotlighted this week by the death of a four-month-old in a Manhattan hotel that’s now used to shelter for migrants.
The baby girl arrived in the US from Ecuador in January with her family. Her death is under investigation.
The crisis could be even worse in Chicago, some 800 miles to the west.
There, cash-strapped officials said they cannot afford to rent hotel rooms for all arriving migrants and asked for more federal funding.
The shelters of America’s third-biggest city are so overwhelmed that migrants have slept in police stations.
With nowhere else to turn, newcomers have set down mattresses in cop shops for a safe place to rest.
A father from Venezuela feeds his 15-month-old son in the lobby of a police station where they have been staying with other migrant families since their arrival to Chicago, Illinois
Migrants receive supplies outside the District 12 station of the Chicago Police Department in Chicago, Illinois
Immigrants from Venezuela rest in the lobby of a police station where they’ve been staying since their arrival to Chicago, Illinois, earlier this month
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Tomas Orozco, 55, recently arrived in Chicago with his family.
They reached the US after an arduous seven-week journey from their home country, Venezuela.
They even passed through the notorious Darien Gap, a treacherous stretch of jungle separating Colombia and Panama
There, his family members got sick from drinking contaminated water.
‘We’re waiting to see where they’re going to place us,’ Orozco told a reporter after reaching the windy city.
Migrant flows have deepened tensions between Republican and Democratic politicians.
Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, resumed a campaign of busing migrants to Democratic strongholds further north, including Chicago and New York City.
The buses alleviate pressure on border cities.
They also focus attention on what Republicans call Biden’s lax ‘open border’ policy.
Migrants wait in a bus for its departure to Phoenix Airport from a migrant transition center in Somerton, Arizona, after being released by Border Patrol
A migrant lies on a sleeping pad at a makeshift shelter in Denver, Colorado
Sleeping pads for migrants are piled up by checking in table at a makeshift shelter in Denver, Colorado
Venezuelan migrant Jackson Marcano counts what little money he has in his pocket at a processing center in Denver, Colorado
Migrants wait in line for meals from a food truck at a migrant processing center in Denver, Colorado, earlier this month
Texas this month began busing migrants to Denver, where Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock was already struggling to house new arrivals.
The city of 711,000 people has seen an influx of some 10,000 migrants in the last six months alone.
Officials this week extended a declaration of a local disaster emergency to the end of June.
Migrants, mostly Venezuelans, have been placing thin blankets on hard floors in makeshift shelters hoping for some shuteye.
Many were not prepared for the chilly city, with only T-shirts and flip-flops to wear.
Other border states have tried different ways to move migrants and asylum seekers north.
Florida’s Republican Gov Ron DeSantis this month signed a law that tightens rules on identity cards and proof of citizenship.
Migrants hunkering down under a blanket after entering the US at El Paso, Texas, during a vicious sandstorm
Migrants wait for a bus to take them to a processing center after turning themselves over to US Border Patrol in Fronton, Texas
The sun sets behind these migrants, trying to reach the US, near the US-Mexico border, in Ciudad Juarez
The sun casts a long shadow as these migrants arrive for processing and entry into the US in Zuma, Arizona
The pandemic rule known as Title 42 allowed US border guards to expel migrants to Mexico without the chance to seek US asylum.
For some even long-term undocumented residents of Florida, this means it is time to leave the state.
Chaotic scenes at the border and the scramble for shelter in Chicago, New York, Denver, and other cities follows the end this month of COVID-19 border restrictions.
Tens of thousands of people hurried to cross the border illegally before Biden implemented a strict new asylum regulation to replace the rule.
The Biden Administration reinstated criminal penalties for trying to enter the US illegally.
This appears to have deterred many from crossing the border.
US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said border guards saw a 50 percent drop in encounters at the border.
Still, there were already plenty of migrants in the US.
A lightning bolt crackles from the sky during a storm as migrants lined up for processing by immigration officials after crossing the Texas-Mexico frontier
Migrants awaiting processing near razor wire at the border in El Paso, Texas
Groups of migrants from both Peru and Senegal beat the clock just before the expiration of Title 42 in Yuma, Arizona
Only 31 percent of voters say they approve of the president’s handling of immigration, an AP-NORC poll found this week.
In the 2022 budget year, which ended in September, agents apprehended immigrants a record 2.38 million times at the southern border.
Though the expected surge did not materialize, the scenes at the border and in sanctuary cities are denting Biden’s appeal.
Only 40 percent say they approve of Biden’s overall job performance — a poor showing for a president seeking reelection next year.
Immigration hawks say the reality is worse than what is seen on the border.
This week, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, warned that 1.5 million undocumented migrants had slipped into the US since Biden took office in January 2021.
Only 31 percent of voters say they approve of the president’s handling of immigration
Biden’s low marks on immigration follows the end of Title 42 authority and a surge of migration from people who traveled through Mexico
These ‘gotaways’ — as they are known — do not appear in government statistics, as they are not seen crossing the lengthy 1,250-mile-long Texas-Mexico border.
‘Who do you think are the ones getting away?’ said Mark Morgan, a fellow of the think tank and former border guard.
‘That’s where the criminal element is coming in. That’s where the gang members are getting through.’
Agencies contributed to this report.