According to documents provided to NBC News, the federal government is planning eight deportation flights to Haiti next week and aims for 10 flights weekly after that. One deportation flight carries 135 people.
Authorities will also fly individuals to other border patrol sectors as the Del Rio sector is currently overwhelmed by the number of arrivals, according to NBC.
Gonzales’ office indicated in a press statement that, as of Friday morning, more than 12,000 people were under the Del Rio International Bridge.
In a letter on Thursday, Gonzales told United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that border patrol detention centers in the area were “at full capacity.”
“Last week, approximately 150 migrants were held under the bridge. As of today, there are more than 8,000, with thousands more reportedly on the way from the interior of Mexico,” Gonzales wrote, only one day before updating the figure to 12,000.
The congressman also warned that border guards are having to help with the chaos in Del Rio instead of patrolling the border. A theme throughout the border crisis has been United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) having to focus more on humanitarian issues and less on security.
“This has created serious vulnerabilities for our national security,” Gonzales wrote, repeating the concerns stated by former CBP Chief Rodney Scott before he left office in August.
In May, Mayorkas granted temporary protective status to Haitian illegal aliens for a period of 18 months. At the time, Mayorkas cited “serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources” as part of the basis for that decision.
Partially in response to an earthquake that hit the country on August 14, the feds stopped flying Haitians back to their home country on September 8, a move that Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) contends precipitated the deluge of people from Haiti.
Cruz said in a television appearance that 85 percent of the people at the Del Rio International Bridge are from Haiti. The senator indicated that about 900 Haitian nationals were about to board flights when the administration canceled the deportations.
“[T]he word has gone out if you’re from Haiti, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have said, ‘We have open borders, come to Del Rio, and they will let you in,'” he said.
Cruz said none of the illegal aliens in Del Rio have been tested for COVID-19.
On Thursday morning, Democratic Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano indicated in a video posted to social media that he is concerned about the risk of infectious diseases, stampedes, and the possibility of terrorists slipping through the cracks.
“We need quick action from the administration. We need quick attention to this,” Lozano said.
“We need a response in real time and, you know, a stark warning was delivered back in February when we released the video to the Biden administration that what you’re seeing behind me was a threat then — and here it’s coming to the worst case scenario of worst case scenarios.”
The mayor was alluding to a video he produced earlier this year shortly after Biden took office in which he pleaded with the administration to act to stop releasing illegal aliens in Del Rio, which did not have the resources to care for them.
Illegal crossings have continued to increase almost every month since then, with the number of border arrests exceeding 200,000 in July and August, numbers unseen since the Clinton administration.
Governor Greg Abbott’s office put out a statement on Thursday evening that CBP had originally said they would help close ports of entry in Texas, but then “flip-flopped to a different strategy.” Abbott said the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety would remain “at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.”
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- Alejandro Mayorkas
- border crisis
- border disaster
- Border Security
- Bruno Lozano
- Del Rio
- Greg Abbott
- Illegal Immigration
- Joe Biden
- Kamala Harris
- Ted Cruz
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- Texas National Guard
- Tony Gonzales
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."