Thousands of migrants seeking asylum are in Del Rio, Texas waiting to be processed by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. According to reports, over 10,000, mostly Haitian, migrants are being given a ticket by CBP and waiting under a bridge until their number is called to make their claim.
Migrants can be seen walking from Mexico through the Rio Grande river carrying backpacks, blankets, bottles of water and children on their shoulders.
In a press conference, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano declared the city was in a state of emergency and called the situation extremely chaotic.
Del Rio officials and CBP first saw the groups of migrants on Monday and have seen a steady increase ever since.
“That leads to a lot of security threats, it leads to the potential of a stampede, people running over each other, it leads to an infrastructure threat as far as the safety and integrity of the bridge itself,” Lozano said.
On Wednesday, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano reported about 5,000 migrants at the border and a 7 to 15 days wait time to be processed by CBP. Friday morning, Lozano said that now with over 10,000 migrants, agitation among migrants is growing.
“There’s people having babies down there,” Lozano said. “ There’s people collapsing under the heat, there’s babies in diapers, they haven’t bathed.”
At the same time migrants are waiting to be processed, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office released this statement:
“Six hours after U.S. Customs and Border Protection requested help from Texas to close ports of entry and secure the border, the Biden Administration has now flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security and instead makes it easier for people to cross illegally and for cartels to exploit the border,” Abbott said. “The Biden Administration is in complete disarray and is handling the border crisis as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan.”
Abbott also instructed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to “maintain presence” at the border to “deter migrants,” according to the office.
In the conference, Lozano also said he is in contact with Abbott and said the influx of migrants is a consequence of inaction on immigration reform.
“Immigration has been a hot topic for the past twenty years in recent history,” Lozano said. “Our elected officials in Washington D.C. need to have that conversation, that challenging conversation to really digest and reform the naturalization process.”
The surge of Haitian asylum seekers comes after a 7.2 earthquake hit the country in August and left 2,000 Haitians dead and over 12,000 injured.
In addition to climate catastrophes, the country is also experiencing political uncertainty after the Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in his home by 28 foriegn mercenaries in June.
The Signal contacted the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for a statement, but refused to comment.
Photo: Billy Hathorn/Wikimedia Commons
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.