Intense pressure from residents pushed a Texas border city to close down an hours-old campsite built to house migrants with COVID-19. The camp will be moved to county land near the Rio Grande.
The controversy began on Tuesday night when the City of McAllen pitched tents, portable bathrooms, and other facilities in a fenced area near a busy intersection. City crews also placed black tarps on the perimeter fence to obscure outside viewing.
According to the City of McAllen, its commission acted following a disaster declaration and ordered staff “to assist local non-governmental organizations to swiftly expand their operations, including identifying additional locations for emergency shelter should the need arise.”
By Wednesday evening, the City sent out a new statement revealing the camp was in fact for migrants with COVID-19 and they are moving the facility to a county property. According to officials from Hidalgo County, the facility is expected to be moved to Anzalduas Park.
The migrant shelter run by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley is not affected by the news. That facility has reached capacity due to the current migrant crisis. The NGO is housing migrants with COVID-19 at local hotels and is causing a separate controversy.
Anzalduas Park is on the banks of the Rio Grande and is a human smuggling hub for the Gulf Cartel to cross Central Americans straight to federal authorities for asylum claims. In recent weeks, Mexican officials found graves directly south of the border from Anzalduas Park. The area routinely has a large number of Border Patrol agents and Texas State Troopers stationed nearby due to the high foot traffic. It remains unclear the effect that the new migrant tent facility will have on smuggling operations in that county park.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.