Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-us-regions, on Thursday visited the chaotic and squalid migrant camp that has formed under the International Bridge in Del Rio, and was shocked by what he saw, as the numbers of predominantly Haitian migrants has doubled in just 24 hours.
Gonzales, whose district includes Del Rio, told Fox News that the camp where more than 8,000 migrants have gathered “is as bad as I’ve ever seen it, and I’m not taking that lightly.”
“When you see the amount of people and how chaotic it is and how there is literally no border, folks are coming to and from Mexico with ease, its gut wrenching and its dangerous,” he said.
Drone footage from Fox News taken earlier in the day shows the number of migrants under the bridge, who are just waiting to be apprehended by Border Patrol, has surged within a single day.
On Wednesday, the numbers were more than 4,000 but by Thursday morning that number had spiked to approximately 8,200, a source told Fox. A source told Fox that Border Patrol was overwhelmed and that the situation is “out of control.”
Meanwhile, a law enforcement source said that a large majority of the migrants are Haitians and more are arriving at the bridge by the minute.
While there are fears that many more thousands of Haitians could be on the way to Del Rio, Gonzales stressed that the situation was already perilous, both in terms of sanitary conditions and in terms of national and border security.
“The sheer amount of people, it’s like getting hit by a 2×4,” he said. “You think you’re in a third-world country, and this is the United States, this is Del Rio Texas, and there is literally no border at all — it’s just been muddied over.”
Customs and Border Protection told Fox News that Border Patrol is “increasing its manpower in the Del Rio Sector and coordinating efforts within DHS and other relevant federal, state and local partners to immediately address the current level of migrant encounters and to facilitate a safe, humane and orderly process.”
“To prevent injuries from heat-related illness, the shaded area underneath Del Rio International Bridge is serving as a temporary staging site while migrants wait to be taken into USBP custody,” a spokesperson said.
“Drinking water, towels, and portable toilets have been delivered for migrants to use while they await to be transported to a facility,” the spokesperson said. “The vast majority of single adults and many families will continue to be expelled under the CDC’s Title 42 authority, and those who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain will be placed in expedited removal proceedings.”
Gonzales said that the surge in migrants, who he said were mostly single males, was triggered by a move by the Biden administration to cancel a number of repatriation flights to Haiti. A Border Patrol source separately told Fox News the same thing. However a DHS official told Fox News that a flight to Haiti went out on Wednesday and said flights are continuing, although they could not provide details on upcoming flights due to operation and security factors.
Gonzales said the alleged flight cancelation had led not only to migrants being rejected rather than repatriated, but had also sent a signal to Haitians that now was the time to try and enter the U.S. along with the loosening of other border protections like the Migrant Protection Protocols — which kept migrants in Mexico for their hearings.
More immediately, he said that he was concerned with the impact it would have on the small town of Del Rio, which is not equipped to handle such a surge in numbers.
“To feed these migrants, provide them three meals a day would cost the city of Del Rio $1 million a week,” he said. “This is a small town that does not have any resources and yet they are literally having to come up with millions of dollars a week to handle this crisis — it’s unfair to them.”
He also warned that in addition to the impact on Del Rio, it would soon have an impact on cities across the country.
“These folks, they’re not staying in Texas, they’re literally going to every city, they’re going to Miami, they’re going to Chicago, they’re going to New York City, San Francisco, they’re going to a neighborhood near you and it impacts everybody.”