The border crisis got ratcheted up another notch this week as a bridge connecting Mexico to south Texas has become the focal point of another massive influx of migrants.
According to a Friday Reuters report, over 10,000 individuals — mostly Haitians, but also Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans — had set up a camp underneath the Del Rio International Bridge in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.
“More migrants were expected after long and harrowing journeys through Mexico and Central and South America,” Reuters’ Alexandra Ulmer reported. “Officials on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border said most of the migrants were Haitians.”
It was unclear what prompted the sudden rush of Haitian migrants to the border, although the country has been hit with a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and a new round of political instability after Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July.
Del Rio, Texas Mayor Bruno Lozano said more than 2,000 migrants arrived on Thursday, driving the number from 8,200 to 10,503 in a matter of hours.
“Most of the migrants at the camp appeared to be men, but women nursing or carrying kids also could be seen,” Reuters reported.
By Friday, The New York Times reported, the number had increased to an estimated 14,000.
If you want to really get an idea of how bad things are, take a look from the sky:
SHOCKING report just now from @BillFOXLA on Fox.
Our border is *wide-open*
This is BIDEN’S border crisis. pic.twitter.com/QgcEbV8ZFv
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 17, 2021
Is the border crisis out of control?
Fox News’ Bill Melugin took a helicopter over the encampment on the Mexico side and found many of the migrants weren’t waiting for Border Patrol agents to process them.
Instead, they were crossing the Rio Grande on their own.
“This is non-stop, guys,” Melugin said. “This is a non-stop trail of migrants who are crossing the Rio Grande in multiple areas here.”
“This is a steady line of hundreds of people … that is a steady trail of hundreds of people crossing from Mexico as we speak right now, arriving into the United States illegally. Wow. That is a lot of people.”
Melugin also said he’d been “noticing … these folks are allowed to go back and forth between the United States and Mexico. There are no Border Patrol agents down there. There are no immigration agents on the Mexican side.
“It almost looks like it’s a water park down there. People are playing in the water, just going back and forth between the United States [and Mexico].”
Unfortunately, the Six Flags-style atmosphere has real-world consequences, particularly given the illegal immigration numbers we’ve seen over the last few months.
According to Customs and Border Protection numbers released this week, Border Patrol apprehensions in August totaled 208,887. CBP noted that this represented “a 2 percent drop compared to July.” That’s no great shakes, considering the number in July was 212,672. Also, compared to the number of apprehensions in August of 2019 and 2020 — 62,707 and 50,014 respectively, according to ABC News — it appears the border crisis is showing no signs of abating.
The apprehension numbers were considerably higher than earlier in the year, as well — even though President Joe Biden himself claimed in March that those earlier numbers, already high, were caused by a seasonal surge in illegal immigration during the winter months.
“There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March. It happens every year,” Biden said during a news conference. “The reason they’re coming is that it’s the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying on the way because of the heat in the desert.”
Apparently, migrants didn’t get that message, because they’re coming in record numbers — and the Haitians at the Del Rio International Bridge could mean September’s numbers are even higher.
CBP said they were increasing their numbers at the border crossing to deal with the surge.
Law enforcement source on the ground at the bridge this morning just sent me this video showing the situation there. I’m told a large majority of the migrants are Haitians and more are crossing into the US and arriving at the bridge by the minute. BP w/ limited manpower @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/dHWCrhFikq
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) September 16, 2021
“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,” a CBP statement to The Washington Post read. “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.”
According to The Associated Press, the administration has promised “the widescale expulsion of Haitian migrants from a small Texas border city by putting them on flights to Haiti starting Sunday, an official said Friday, representing a swift and dramatic response to thousands who suddenly crossed the border from Mexico and gathered under and around a bridge.”
The Biden administration has temporarily closed the Del Rio crossing in response to the surge. As Bill Melugin noted in the helicopter, however, “This does not look like a closed border from the air.”
It doesn’t. It’s also another immigration black eye for the administration after its failures in the Afghanistan airlift, which saw national security threats and men with child “brides” they had allegedly sexually assaulted brought into the United States.
So what’s the president doing?
The president may go away, but the crisis won’t — and even if the administration sends the Haitians back, its immigration policies are only inviting more scenes like this in the future.