An impromptu migrant camp under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, swelled to more than 4,500 people, according to Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez, who said it had become an untenable situation for all. the people involved.
Shocking photos show people being crushed, some sleeping on the floor, with clothes strung around them on ropes or concrete barriers.
The camp had been hovering among the hundreds of occupiers for several weeks, but a new wave of a few hundred people a day caused the numbers to skyrocket.
“These people are basically going on the border patrol, and the border patrol has no room for them at the border patrol station,” the sheriff told the Washington Times. “They are technically not in detention. They get on, we give them a ticket for the placement, and they wait for a bus to come and pick them up.
The camp is located under the International Bridge, a border crossing between Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña in Mexico.
Sheriff Martinez said Haitians predominated, with Venezuelans and possibly Cubans also in the camp. The population includes cross-border single adults and families.
Migrants take advantage of the Biden administration’s approach to border control. The Biden team abandoned a Trump-era policy of allowing migrants to be pushed back across the border and made more limited use of another pandemic deportation tool, known as the name of Title 42.
Del Rio was once a relatively quiet part of the border, but has seen a massive increase in illegal activity and deaths at the border this year.
The region does not have the infrastructure to accommodate the people it receives, including to perform COVID tests. Homeland Security, which elsewhere relies on non-governmental organizations for testing, had to issue a contract for it to be done in Del Rio.
“It’s not safe, it’s not healthy, for everyone involved, for the people down there under the bridge. It’s a situation that I think has gotten worse and it won’t get better until someone does something, ”he said.
The situation is so bad that the migrants return to Mexico to collect food and water and then return to the American camp, the sheriff said.
Breitbart.com, which reported on the situation at the bridge, said the migrants were not on any official list of customs and border protection detainees and were not registered in the processing system.
CBP, in a statement, defended its use of the bridge as the best option for shade to avoid heat-related issues on what it called a “temporary staging site” for migrants.
“Drinking water, towels and portable toilets have been provided to migrants while waiting to be transported to a facility,” the agency said.
The agency said some of the migrants would still be deported under the authority of Title 42.