EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Politicians are calling on the Biden administration to take swift action to clean up the crisis in Del Rio as more than 14,000 migrants, most of whom are from Haiti, are waiting under the bridge in Del Rio hoping to be allowed into the country.
U.S. Rep. August Pflugar from district 24 visited the Del Rio bridge Saturday and had a message for the President saying, “President Biden, if you were listening we need you to tell every single country out there that this border is closed. Something that is so alarming is that the people behind me, the 14,878, illegal immigrants who are here in Del Rio Texas are saying that our border is easier to get through, than the border of Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, or Mexico, that’s a shame.”
The Department of Homeland Security announced a plan to deal with the migrants, however, the Del Rio International bridge remains closed for the second day straight day. According to U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, the migrants at the closed bridge are impacting local businesses in addition to causing a food and labor shortage in the area. Gonzales said that people who usually commute from Mexico haven’t been able to travel across the bridge for work.
Gov. Greg Abbott has sent more than 1,000 state troopers, as well as national guardsmen and women to Del Rio to help with the crisis. The mayor of the small town, Bruno Lozano, welcomed the assistance and said many of the migrants will be boarding busses soon, both to go to other sectors for processing and possible back to their home country.
According to Gonzales, one of the sectors that the migrants will be sent for processing in El Paso.
He also said that the number of flights returning the migrants to their home countries has been increased to at least eight. Those flights are set to start operating this coming week.
However, he said an unknown number of migrants will be released into the United States while they wait for their immigration hearings.
Full statement from Gonzales:
“We’re seeing the situation rapidly deteriorate in real time. Since my visit on Thursday morning, numbers have increased from 8 to 14,000 people. Border patrol agents are doing everything they can but it’s clear they need more support and they need it NOW.
I have been in talks with US Border Patrol Chief Ortiz and with the White House. Here are actions being taken: Within 24-48 hours, DHS will have added 400 agents tasked to the Del Rio sector. The Del Rio Port of Entry has closed and traffic rerouted to Eagle Pass.
DHS is also working to increase and accelerate repatriation flights to return migrants to their country of origin. This includes Haitians & Central Americans. There will be a surge of 8 ICE flights this coming week, up from from 2-5 flights before, with more flights to come.
Title 42 is still being used to expel some migrants but others will be released in the U.S. while awaiting immigration proceedings. This policy is disastrous & I’ll continue to push to resume Remain in Mexico so migrants no longer have an incentive to be released in the U.S.
ICE and CBP will also be flying migrants to other processing sectors to relieve some of the burden from Del Rio. Some will be taken to El Paso, other to Laredo, with possibility for other locations.
There is a shortage of housing for agents that are being sent to Del Rio. We are looking at every option possible to find them shelter while they are there, that could potentially include Laughlin AFB. Collaboration is key right now.
I’m continuing to get messages from our Del Rio community on the ripple effects. There are food shortages in grocery stores, restaurants have closed early to make food for the camp & workers who usually commute from Mexico are unable to get to work resulting in a shortage of help.