"That’s probably an (Uber)," police officer E. Gallardo told a local KRQE reporter of a car that was going up and down an Encinos neighborhood street in Sunland Park, but quickly left the area when it spotted the police car. "Almost everyone carries a cell phone now," Gallardo, who is a veteran of the Las Cruces, and Sunland Park police departments, said of how migrants keep in touch with smugglers or rides.
Gallardo said that in Sunland Park, many migrants come down a mountain early in the morning and cross into the U.S., where smugglers sometimes instruct them to order an Uber or Lyft.
Uber told Fox News when approached for comment that the company has a law enforcement team that works with local police departments with investigations, and also partnered with various nonprofits to educate drivers on how to pick out and report potential human trafficking.
Lyft similarly noted that it has "a dedicated law enforcement response team that works with police departments" and is "committed to working closely with law enforcement to support community safety."
Local police explained they don’t stop vehicles that pick up passengers along the border unless they see the driver speeding or a car carrying more occupants than it's built for.
The ride-along comes as migrants at the southern border continue crossing into the United States at high rates, with more than 188,000 migrant encounters at the southern border in June.
Police explained that Sunland Park has become a favorite spot for Juarez, Mexico-based smuggling organizations due to its nearby mountain that provides cover for migrants as they cross into the country.
"They hide in the brush, behind houses, under mobile homes … they’ll go to sleep and rest a bit and won’t come up for hours," Gallardo said of the migrants.
Officers in the town are often inundated with calls about migrants, but municipal police have their hands tied and must tread carefully due to state leaders not pushing to enforce immigration laws, according to the report.
"Ultimately, if I can see them on a private property, I can make a consensual stop. I gotta protect the dwelling and the safety of the residents," Gallardo said.
The immigration crisis has continued at the United States’s southern border, with many local leaders blaming the Biden administration and other Democratic leaders in Washington, D.C.
"People blame us sometimes, here in the municipality. We tell them it’s outside of our jurisdiction. You want to place blame? We know exactly where to do it, and that’s in Washington. And whether it be the president, Congress, the Senate, whatever it is, they’re the ones who can take care of it," McAllen Texas Mayor Javier Villalobos told Fox News on Thursday.
Villalobos added Friday that the city was at its "breaking point" and issued an emergency declaration to build a "tent city" for the migrants after the area received minimal help from the federal government.
"The Catholic charities just couldn’t handle it anymore," Villalobos told "America’s Newsroom." "We get a call, so we have to immediately act because we cannot—we shouldn’t and we cannot let the immigrants roam around our city—especially with a high COVID rate."
Another Texas mayor also sounded the alarm on the migration crisis Friday, saying there was "chaos."
"Something’s terribly wrong here," said Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz."It’s not orderly, there’s chaos, and obviously it’s creating this crisis that we’re facing here throughout the entire border area."