Ns News Online Desk: Over 10,000 illegal immigrants are waiting for asylum under the Del Rio International Bridge, the majority of whom are from Haiti, after crossing into the United States via the Rio Grande this week, and local officials expect more in the coming days.
As of Thursday, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano said there were 10,503 migrants under the bridge, where food and water remain scarce.
The new numbers come as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) instituted a two-week flight restriction over the city of Del Rio for “special security reasons” — which grounded a drone used by Fox News to document the chaos.
Fox News national correspondent Bill Melguin called the timing and location of the TFR to be “a little bit curious,” as the outlet has been using drones at the border for the past seven months.
In a statement, the FAA said, “the Border Patrol requested the temporary flight restriction due to drones interfering with law enforcement flights on the border. As with any temporary flight restriction, media is able to call the FAA to make requests to operate in the area.”
While thousands remain under the bridge, Reuters reportedly witnessed hundreds of people going back across the Rio Grande to Mexico to gather more supplies they have been unable to get in Texas. Images show illegal immigrants carrying water, food and other provisions across the river.
Some migrants have been told they could be stuck at the camp for up to five days. Many told the outlet they are running out of money as they wait. The majority of the illegal immigrants hail from Haiti, while others are reportedly coming from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Many of them have received tickets from US Border Patrol with numbers to determine when they will be processed. One family told the Washington Post that according to their ticket, they are roughly 2,000th in line. While the thousands of illegal immigrants wait for processing under the bridge, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) instituted a two-week flight restriction over the city of Del Rio for “special security reasons” — which grounded a drone used by Fox News to document the chaos.
The influx of unlawful crossings comes days after border officials confirmed they had encountered 208,887 migrants at the southwestern frontier in August.
Last month marks the first time that more than 200,000 illegal immigrant encounters have been recorded in consecutive months since February and March 2000 (211,328 and 220,063, respectively). Officials have stopped 1,323,597 illegal immigrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border so far this year.
It is unclear how many more people will cross the river to wait under the bridge, but Customs and Border Protection will be increasing manpower in the area.
“The Border Patrol is increasing its manpower in the Del Rio Sector and coordinating efforts within DHS and other relevant federal, state and local partners to immediately address the current level of migrant encounters and to facilitate a safe, humane and orderly process,” CBP said in a statement obtained by the Washington Post.
“To prevent injuries from heat-related illness, the shaded area underneath Del Rio International Bridge is serving as a temporary staging site while migrants wait to be taken into USBP custody.”Since taking office, President Biden and his administration have received bipartisan and even international criticism for instituting policies that have created the crisis at the border.
On Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continued to call out the administration for making 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,” he said.
Migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. bathe in the Rio Grande river near the International Bridge between Mexico and the U.S.“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.” Abbott’s order came after he initially called for the ports of entry to be closed.
Despite the administration’s efforts to combat the massive influx of illegal immigrants through deportations allowed under the CDC’s Title 42 health order, US District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled on Thursday that the US can no longer cite the rule to deport migrant families. The CDC’s COVID-19 order led to nearly 1 million people being deported.