EAGLE PASS, Texas — On Monday, Mission Border Hope re-opened its doors to migrants released by Border Patrol. Late last week, the shelter declined intakes after Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order prohibiting the ground transportation of released migrants on Texas highways.
The shelter closed last week, increasing the backlog of detainees held by Border Patrol. The shelter staff spent Monday loading migrants onto vans and commercial buses bound for San Antonio.
Abbott’s executive order directs the Texas Department of Public Safety to stop vehicles suspected of transporting released migrants and to re-route the conveyance back to the border. The vehicles may be impounded.
Abbott’s order and an increase in migrant traffic over the weekend led to the Border Patrol to resort to outside detention in the Del Rio and Rio Grande Valley Sectors. As facilities exceeded recommended detention levels, agents are forced to house the migrants under international bridges as they attempt to quickly process and release the migrants.
The Mission Border Hope shelter in Eagle Pass is also struggling with the uptick in migrant releases. They also face overcrowding. As a result, Border Patrol began dropping migrants off at an empty house owned by the United Methodist Church to relieve the shelters. Some impatient migrants left the shelter and began to seek transportation on their own, according to a local commercial van operator.
“About 40 migrants walked away from the Methodist shelter and approached my business. We will attempt to serve them as best we can, this is a bad situation,” said Jorge Sierra of Aguila Express Van Lines.
On Monday, in El Paso, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone began hearing a case filed by Attorney General Merrick Garland over the Abbott transport order. The Department of Justice is seeking an injunction or temporary restraining order to block Abbott’s latest action.
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