DEL RIO, Texas — A law enforcement source, speaking on a condition of anonymity, reported the number of Venezuelans illegally entering the United States locally is continuing to rise. Nearly 1,500 have crossed into the area since May 1. The Del Rio Sector is currently leading all others in the apprehension of Venezuelan nationals.
More than 11,000 Venezuelans have illegally entered the United States this fiscal year. Of those, almost 7,000 were apprehended in Del Rio.
In April, nearly 4,000 Venezuelans made the trek across the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas. The volume is proving to be a challenge for Border Patrol. While agents deal with the transportation and humanitarian needs of the large groups of Venezuelans, other illegal border traffic becomes harder to interdict.
Del Rio, like other cities across the southern border, has seen its share of the increase in migrant traffic. A soft-sided facility was recently opened within the Del Rio Border Patrol Sector to deal with the influx. Del Rio has dealt with large groups of illegal migrants from outside the usual Central American countries normally encountered throughout other border areas.
Because of the relative safety of Ciudad Acuna, directly across from Del Rio, the area is a draw for large groups of Haitians, Cubans, and Central Africans. Cartel violence has slowed in recent years when compared to other cities in Mexico along the border and is the reason many within law enforcement believe Del Rio is the chosen crossing point.
In March, the Biden Administration granted Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelan nationals for 18 months. The designation applies to those residing in the United States since March 8, 2021. The designation suspends any attempts at removal for the period. Generally, these deadlines are extended–sometimes for years on end. Some critics argue this is a pull factor, encouraging illegal immigration from designated countries.
This group will more than likely be released into the United States to pursue asylum claims even though they would not qualify for the TPS designation. The source reports many of the Venezuelans interviewed during the week directly attributed the suspension of deportations by the Biden Administration as the impetus for their entry into the United States.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.