DEL RIO, Texas – State soldiers deployed to the border by Governor Greg Abbott are credited with doing the job of the federal government and preventing thousands of other migrants in Mexico from illegally entering the United States after over 15,000 passed here at the end of last week.
A swarm of officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, known as soldiers, descended on the riverbank on Saturday afternoon as a show of force to deter Mexicans from fording the Rio Grande. About 150 black SUVs were still lined up Sunday afternoon on the dirt road that runs along the river.
Their arrival at the scene on Saturday had an immediate impact, stopping the foot traffic of mainly Haitian migrants who were making round trips between the United States and Mexico.
“With our DPS soldiers, there was no crossing from that specific area,” Lt. Chris Olivarez, spokesman for the South Texas area, said in an interview on Sunday.
The impact of the arrival of the DPS on the border patrol agents was significant. Although it is the responsibility of Customs and Border Protection to patrol the country’s borders, virtually all officers have been removed from the field to transport migrants to and from detention facilities, and then treat and care for them. once in detention.
Those under the bridge are at an unusual intermediate point as they are not in custody, but are waiting under the bridge in the hope of being detained and then released in the United States. They can apply for asylum to avoid being flown back to Haiti, although Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Sunday that most families would be released in the country and adults would be repatriated.
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A national guard monitors traffic entering an area near the international bridge where thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, formed a makeshift camp on Monday, September 20, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. The United States returns the Haitians encamped in the border town of Texas to their homeland and attempts to prevent others from crossing the border from Mexico. (AP Photo / Eric Gay) Eric Gay / AP
Jon Anfinsen, a border patrol agent who is president of the Del Rio branch of the national union, said it was “great” to see the state police come in and hold the line because they took over. control of land that had fallen outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. control.
“Literally we couldn’t have any semblance of control here without DPS,” Anfinsen said in an interview below deck. “Fortunately, DPS came here and helped us a lot. We literally couldn’t control that or even have any semblance of control without the DPS, the National Guard, all the other local players that are here. “
Brandon Judd, a border patrol officer who is the national union president of the National Border Patrol Council, estimated that soldiers outnumber federal agents. He said as many National Guard soldiers as there are soldiers are also there.
Thousands of police and military near the bridge are also preparing for the worst-case scenario as tensions build up in the camp. Temperatures will hit triple digits again on Monday, and food and water are already scarce. People in the camp have been living outside for several days with little or no communication from the federal agents who manage the site.
Desperate, the government bought meals at neighboring Rudy’s BBQ restaurant and A&W fast food restaurant. Before the soldiers arrived at the scene on Saturday, many migrants had returned to Mexico to purchase food, water and supplies, then return them to the United States while waiting to be transported to a treatment station. . When the soldiers took control, it also meant that there were no more supplies from outside the camp, although migrants in a nearby part of the river were able to squeeze in some goods. Olivarez also confirmed that the migrants were crossing elsewhere.
“Wherever we can scramble to bring in large amounts of food, we do it,” Anfinsen said. “This, I think, is probably going to be urgent concern # 1.”
Haitian migrants use a roadblock to cross to and from the United States from Mexico, Friday, September 17, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. (AP Photo / Eric Gay) Eric Gay / AP
Olivarez hasn’t revealed how long DPS expects to have their staff on site. Soldiers from the northern, western and eastern regions were called in, some traveling over 500 miles to carry out Abbott’s order.
“We are here to support our federal partners, namely the border patrol. We will be here as a deterrent and more as a security presence, ”Olivarez said. “With the large group you have here, potential threats are possible. … We know this group right now, they’re frustrated. It’s very hot here. There isn’t enough water or food for some groups to eat or get their water in a timely manner, so we’re ready to deal with these potential threats with the teams we already have in place.
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“This, believe it or not, is somewhat under control – frankly, only because the crowd allows it,” Anfinsen said. “I mean, if they wanted to make it a problem, they could. What are we going to do?”
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Key words: News, Texas, Immigration, illegal immigration, Haiti
Original author: Anna giaritelli
Original location: Texas soldiers credited with regaining control of Del Rio border