Thousands of Haitian migrants are overwhelming border officials in Del Rio, Texas, according to The New York Times.
Border officials said that over 9,000 illegal immigrants, mostly from Haiti, were waiting to be processed under the Del Rio International Bridge, the Times reported Thursday. A few hundred of them crossed the shallow section of the Rio Grande River to the temporary site earlier this week, and officials expected thousands more to show up over the next few days.
More Border Patrol agents will be deployed “to immediately address the current level of migrant encounters and to facilitate a safe, humane and orderly process,” the agency said, according to the Times. Migrants were told to wait under the bridge to get out of the hot Texas sun in an effort to stem heat-related illness before they’re taken into custody.
The illegal immigrants sleep in the dirt underneath the bridge in overcrowded conditions, as temperatures sometimes reach triple digits, the Times reported. Local and state officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, have criticized the conditions.
“The Biden administration is in complete disarray and is handling the border crisis as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan,” Abbott said, according to the Times. Abbott deployed the Texas National Guard and other state law enforcement officials to help federal officials at the border.
The illegal immigrants don’t have access to clean water or food, and portable bathrooms are few and far between beneath the bridge, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano told the Times.
“There are 9,000 people really anxious and stressed,” Lozano, a Democrat, said.
The mayor asked federal officials to assist the town of 35,000 residents for help processing the illegal immigrants.
Haitian migrants increasingly arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border around June, after a series of earthquakes and a presidential assassination shook that country, the Times reported.
Border officials encountered nearly 209,000 illegal immigrants at the southern border in August, including around 32,300 in the Del Rio sector, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.
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