Border Patrol Removes 14,800 Migrants Under a Texas Bridge

Published September 19th, 2021 - 10:18 GMT
Border Patrol begin removing 14,800 migrants
Border Patrol officers temporarily restrict access to the Rio Grande River near a temporary migrant camp under the international bridge in Del Rio, TX as strong thunderstorms move towards the area on September 18, 2021 in Del Rio, Texas.Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images/AFP
Police were also present, amid fears of tensions after the Biden administration announced plans to deport Haitian border crossers back to their home countries

Border Patrol started process to remove 14,800 migrants from a squalid camp set up underneath a Texas frontier bridge with the help of hundreds of cops and soldiers.

Exclusive photos show buses leaving the site and heading towards San Antonio, Texas, accompanied by CBP cars.

Other pictures show one of the migrants being treated for an injury after being caught in the crush and police convoys arriving to provide extra security.

The removal operation began at 1pm local time when access to the migrant camp was shut down and hundreds of Texas Highway Patrol cars began arriving.

Crews from the Del Rio Fire Department were also seen pulling up, as was a convoy of CBP trucks – among them one that was towing a trailer with horses inside.

One of the local sheriffs told that the heavy police presence was to deter would-be migrants angry about being deported back to Haiti.

He said: ‘Border Patrol are delivering the news to the Haitians that they’re going to be deported.

‘They’re breaking the news about the flights – they’re letting them know now. That’s why all these guys are here.’

As he spoke, a police chopper could be seen circling overhead and a stream of white buses began leaving, escorted by law enforcement.

One elderly refugee appeared to have been hurt in the crush and was seen being treated by medics on the side of the road.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, 400 CBP officers are on the scene to process the migrants and added that 2,000 have already been removed.

A source at Del Rio International Airport said some of the 2,000 have already been deported through the airport, with flights departing at 6am and 2.15pm on Saturday.

The source added that many of the migrants were traveling without shoes.

The removal operation began hours after the Biden administration announced it planned to speed up deportation flights to Haiti – eventually increasing them to eight per day.

Flights into the country had been temporarily paused following last month’s earthquake which killed 2,248 people and destroyed 136,000 buildings.

Some of the flights are scheduled to leave from San Antonio, 150 miles from Del Rio, while at least two per day will take off from Del Rio International Airport.

The international bridge between Del Rio and neighboring Ciudad Acuna has been closed since Friday in a bid to try to stop the Haitian migrants flooding into the town.

Locals said they were frustrated by the situation, with one local business owner telling that he could be forced to close if the situation continues.

Sergio Garza, 56, has owned Border One Shop – a gas station and café that sits on the approach to the Del Rio International Bridge – for 12 years.

He said he has 12 staff members who live in Ciudad Acuna who have been unable to come to work because of the standoff at the bridge while sales of gas alone have dropped from 2,300 gallons on Friday to just 200 gallons on Saturday.

Garza, who is a dual Mexican and American citizen, said he understands why the Haitian refugees want to come to the US but said they should do it legally and not hurt small businesses like his along the way.

He said: ‘It has hit us every hard. We have 12 employees who live in Acuna who come and go everyday but the government allows them because they are US citizens.

‘They work here, make a living and provide for their families. Well they didn’t show up today for work today and I guess they’re not going to show up until they reopen the bridge.

‘My wife and I, we’re now doing the work of 12. It is affecting us. It’s going to hit our business.

‘Yesterday, before they shut down the bridge, we sold 2,300 gallons of gas and today we sold 200 gallons. We’re taking a big hit.’

The sudden appearance of the squalid migrant camp has sparked outrage among Texas politicians with Governor Greg Abbott hitting out at the Biden Administration on Friday.

In a statement, he said: 'Six hours after U.S. Customs and Border Protection requested help from Texas to close ports of entry and secure the border, the Biden Administration has now flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security and instead makes it easier for people to cross illegally and for cartels to exploit the border.

'The Biden Administration is in complete disarray and is handling the border crisis as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan.

‘I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.’

Garza says he blames the Biden Administration and the Mexican government for his plight, telling ‘To me, it’s the lack of solid decisions from both governments – the US and Mexican.

‘Those people that are migrants, they’re not vaccinated so it’s a health problem. That has to be blamed on the Mexican government because they’re coming through the southern border of Mexico.

‘I understand that people want to have a better life but they have to do it the right way, the legal way. Immigration laws have to be enforced.’

Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, called on Abbott to seize control of the border from the federal government.

Speaking to Fox News, he said: 'Texas ought to start disregarding this president and start taking it to our own hands, in Texas, the need to secure the border of the United States for the welfare of the people.

'We need to go forward and secure the border -- the governor, the state of Texas needs to own this and seal the border.’

U.S. authorities encountered more than 195,000 migrants at the Mexican border in August, according to government data released on Wednesday.

Many of them are Haitians desperate to escape their impoverished country which has been hit by a series of catastrophic natural disasters in recent years.

Haiti is also being wracked by political instability caused by the assassination of its former president Jovenel Moise in June.

The island's prime minister Ariel Henry has since named as a suspect in the murder investigation.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

You may also like