DEL RIO, Texas (Border Report) — Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday became the highest-ranking Biden administration official to go to the remote and beleaguered border town of Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of migrants, mostly Haitians, live under the international bridge in hopes of claiming asylum. During a press conference on the Del Rio International Bridge — which remained closed for the fourth day by federal officials — Mayorkas made it clear that migrants needn’t try. And he warned others to not head north.
“I want to form sure that it’s known this is often not the thanks to coming to us,” Mayorkas said. “Our borders aren’t open and other people shouldn’t make the damaging journey.” He said that repatriation flights to Haiti are beginning two or 3 times daily. Most are leaving from Laughlin Air Force Base, and a few from the Del Rio International Airport. On Monday, 3,000 migrants were sent for processing to other areas, relocated by U.S. Coast Guard and other federal officials. This adds to the three,500 sent from this region within a previous couple of days, he said.
Mayorkas was flanked by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Troy Miller and U.S. patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, who is from Del Rio, and who landed on the bottom Sunday, each day after 15,000 migrants were reportedly within the bridge encampment. Ortiz said the international bridge between Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, will remain closed as long as necessary. this is often despite “thousands of dollars per hour” being lost within the region’s cross-border maquiladora industry, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano told media Sunday. “We’re achieving our goals. We’re getting there — to some extent where we will manage the population and we’ll see this continue within the upcoming days,” Ortiz said.
But when pressed to quantify what’s really happening, Ortiz admitted things under the bridge remain precarious and only halfway in check . “We have half the world on lockdown and we’re working getting the opposite side of the bridge, getting it locked down,” Ortiz said. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, visited the world last week. He criticized Mayorkas’ visit to Del Rio, calling it “yet another photo-op visit today to South Texas in an effort to save lots of face for President Biden and his administration’s failures.” Cruz said the influx of thousands of migrants recently admitted into the country by the Biden administration is straining health resources during this coronavirus pandemic, and costing the state billions.
“Get to figure securing our southern border,” Cruz said. Many of the migrants have crossed during nkle-deep water in a dam just upriver from the bridge. a complete of 600 patrol agents and CBP officers are sent to the world. They join 1,000 state troopers and National Guard members sent last week by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Some are coming from as far west as El Paso. And with numerous people descending on this town of just 35,000, there isn’t a bedroom for miles, nor are there enough workers to work the hotels at full capacity, locals tell Border Report.
Additionally, many of the hotel workers live across the river and can’t get to their jobs with the bridge closed. On Monday, Abbott sent President Joe Biden a letter requesting a federal emergency declaration be declared for the whole state of Texas, thanks to the Del Rio situation, which he wrote is draining state resources. “This surge poses life-threatening risks to residents of Val Verde County and is quickly overrunning enforcement and health care and human resources which were never intended to be utilized in this capacity,” Abbott wrote within the five-page letter. “The disaster caused from individuals unlawfully crossing the Texas-Mexico border is of such severity that supplementary federal assistance is important to reduce the threat of disaster, save lives, and protect property, public health, and safety.”