Thousands of Migrants Huddle Under a Texas Bridge in Filthy Conditions
On Thursday, thousands of migrants jammed under a bridge in Del Rio, part of a large spike in migration across the Rio Grande this week that has overwhelmed officials and caused considerable delays in processing the arrivals.
More than 9,000 migrants, largely from Haiti, were being kept in a temporary staging area beneath the Del Rio International Bridge while agents worked as rapidly as they could to process them, according to the US Border Patrol.
From a few hundred people early in the week, the temporary camp has developed at a breakneck pace in recent days. Thousands more are anticipated to cross the ankle-deep river between Mexico and Del Rio in the coming days, according to authorities and city leaders.
The Border Patrol said it will send more agents to the area “to address the present volume of migrant interactions and to ensure a safe, humane, and orderly process.” The Border Patrol said that the shaded space beneath the bridge was to prevent injuries from heat-related disease while migrants waited to be brought into custody.
Local officials condemned the image, which included dense masses sleeping on the ground or milling about in triple-digit temperatures amid worsening hygiene. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered state police and the National Guard to help border officials at Del Rio, claiming that the federal response was insufficient to stem the tide of illegal crossings.
In recent months, the Southwest border has been flooded with an unprecedented number of undocumented crossings. Last month, over 200,000 persons crossed, pushing the total for this fiscal year to almost 1.5 million.
The growing throngs in Del Rio, a community roughly 150 miles west of San Antonio surrounded by ranch land, acres of prickly bush, and tall mesquite trees, have presented a new humanitarian problem in recent days.
The city’s mayor, Bruno Lozano, described deplorable conditions beneath the bridge on Thursday, describing them as more akin to a shantytown, with no access to clean water and food and only a few temporary toilets. Local officials said the great majority of persons who arrived looked to be leaving Haiti, which is still recovering from a succession of natural catastrophes and the death of its president, Jovenel Mose, in July.