Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, overwhelm border officials in Texas

Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, overwhelm border officials in Texas
Scene under the Del Rio International Bridge (Image: YouTube screen grab via KSAT)

By Kaylee Greenlee

Thousands of Haitian migrants overwhelmed border officials in Del Rio, Texas, The New York Times reported on Thursday. Haiti, it is worth emphasizing, has a vaccination rate of 0.2%.

Border officials reportedly said that over 9,000 migrants, mostly from Haiti, were waiting to be processed under the Del Rio International Bridge. A few hundred migrants crossed a shallow section of the Rio Grande to the temporary site earlier this week, and officials reportedly expect thousands more to show up over the next few days.

More Border Patrol agents will be deployed to the area “to immediately address the current level of migrant encounters and to facilitate a safe, humane and orderly process,” the agency said. Migrants are told to wait under the bridge to get out of the hot Texas sun in an effort to stem heat-related illness before they’re taken into custody.

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The migrants sleep on the dirt floor underneath the bridge in overcrowded conditions, as temperatures sometimes reach triple-digits. Local and state officials, including Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, have criticized the conditions.

“The Biden administration is in complete disarray and is handling the border crisis as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan,” Abbott said. Abbott deployed Texas’s National Guard and other state law enforcement officials to help federal officials at the border.

The migrants don’t have access to clean water or food, and portable bathrooms are few and far between beneath the bridge, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano said.

“There are 9,000 people really anxious and stressed,” Lozano said. Lozano asked federal officials to assist the small town of just 35,000 residents for help processing the migrants.

Haitian migrants increasingly arrived at the border around June, after a series of earthquakes and a presidential assassination shook the country.

Border officials encountered nearly 209,000 migrants at the southern border in August, including around 32,300 people in the Del Rio sector, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

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