Thousands of Illegal Immigrants Amass Under Bridge in Texas

DEL RIO, Texas—Thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly from Haiti, are congregating under a bridge in Texas while they wait to turn themselves in to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Immigrants were spread out over a span of dirt, many sitting or lying on blankets. Others stood, chatting with companions.

Some 8,000 illegal immigrants, including Haitian, Cuban, and Venezuelan nationals, are in the area, a Border Patrol source told The Epoch Times.

The number increased by about 2,000 overnight, sources said.

Other immigrants are on making their way towards Del Rio through Mexico.

It’s not clear why they’ve chosen Del Rio, though immigration patterns show that people from certain countries have favored routes into the United States. Haitians, especially, often choose to cross the Rio Grande River to enter the Texas border town.

The immigrants are waiting in the area to turn themselves in to U.S. border agents, who will transport them to Border Patrol facilities for intake and processing, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email this week.

Because of the massive influx of aliens, U.S. officials have set up drinking water, towels, and portable toilets under the bridge, leading many to congregate there.

The spokesman did not pick up the phone or return voicemails or an email on Thursday as the number of immigrants continued to swell.

“It’s completely predictable because Biden is basically inviting in illegal immigrants,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonpartisan think tank that advocates for a pro-immigrant, low-immigration system, told The Epoch Times.

“This just seems to be an extreme example of what we’ve been seeing since Jan., 20, which is illegal immigrants, taking Biden up on his offer that if they manage to get into the United States, they’ll be let go,” he added.

President Joe Biden upon entering office quickly overhauled the U.S. immigration system, ending construction on the border wall and a program that forced many asylum seekers to wait in Mexico.

Biden administration officials also stopped using the federal government’s Title 42 authority, which was established during the COVID-19 pandemic, to expel unaccompanied minors, or illegal immigrant children.

The use of Title 42 has dropped in recent months as Democrats pressure Biden to end the authority. Officials applied it to just 44 percent of the illegal immigrant encounters in August.

The decline in federal immigration enforcement has prompted Texas authorities to fill the void. Both state and local law enforcement have ramped up enforcement of illegal immigrants, including in Del Rio, where the mayor has pleaded with Biden to stop releasing illegal immigrants as local conditions deteriorate.

“This is beyond crisis. This is urgent. This is dire,” Bruno Lozano, the Democrat mayor of the city, told KSAT-TV on Wednesday.

The mayor noted he asked the Biden administration in February to take action to staunch the surge in illegal immigration. “I’m still waiting for the plan of action,” he said.

Crossing the border into the United States without proper papers is illegal, but after entering an immigrant can claim asylum, or fear of persecution if they are returned to their home country. If they do, they are often released into the United States. If they don’t, they are processed under Title 8, or federal law, typically getting a court date or told to appear at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office on a certain day. Most don’t end up appearing.

Del-Rio-Bridge
Thousands of illegal immigrants amass in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 16, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The CBP spokesperson told The Epoch Times that “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 processed under Title 8 authorities.”

There are indications that a number of single adults are being allowed to remain in the country, particularly foreign nationals whose nations have been granted a special type of protection called Temporary Protected Status by U.S. authorities.

One Haitian man, a single male who crossed with some 350 other illegal immigrants from Mexico into Del Rio in July, spoke to The Epoch Times after entering the United States. About a month later, he texted to say he’d made it to Boston and was fine.

A Cuban man in his late 20s, Eduardo, told The Epoch Times this week at a gas station in Del Rio that he was waiting to be picked up by his parents, who live in Houston. He said he traveled from Panama through Central America before making it through Mexico to reach Del Rio, walking most of the time.

“There’s no freedom in Cuba,” said Eduardo, who was also not expelled.

The United States recorded over 200,000 illegal immigrant arrests at the border in August, one of the highest months on record. Under the Biden administration, the country is slated to set new records for the highest fiscal year encounters and the highest calendar year encounters.

The administration would have known about the large groups of immigrants that are now in Del Rio, Jaeson Jones, CEO of Omni Intelligence, told The Epoch Times.

U.S. intelligence programs monitor Central America to detect large groups forming, according to Jones, a former Texas Department of Public Safety intelligence and counterterrorism captain, who worked closely with Border Patrol.

“No one in the federal government has acknowledged what was coming, stated that this was happening, nor did they do anything to mitigate it, because this should have been stopped. This is a large caravan of people that wasn’t stopped,” he said.

“To me, this just is more validation of the level of failure of leadership within the current administration.”

From The Epoch Times