DEL RIO, Texas — Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez says the conditions at a temporary detention camp located under the Port of Entry Bridge are a serious cause for concern. Martinez says some level of criminal activity is occurring and local and state law enforcement are currently investigating one assault case.
Sheriff Martinez is concerned about the potential for crimes committed at the camp to become an issue if the federal government cannot adequately intervene. Sheriff Martinez said his office is investigating a physical assault involving a female migrant who was struck by a male early Thursday.
“Luckily, we have several witnesses to the assault and authorities are pursuing the case against the assailant…we will prosecute any crimes that occur in the camp,” the sheriff said. Although some of the property where the camp is located belongs to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a portion of land where the bridge sits is owned by the City of Del Rio.
Sheriff Martinez says local and state officials are keeping a close eye and will assist the Border Patrol to the extent their resources allow. Martinez is concerned that tensions between migrants may run high at the camp and result in further conflict.
“We are definitely past the tipping point on this one. Mexico needs to help stop or slow the flow down. We are not seeing that,” Sheriff Martinez added.
The number of detainees at the Border Patrol camp exceeds 8,000. The migrants are mostly Haitian nationals. The area lacks sufficient sanitation and the Border Patrol was overwhelmed by the continuous crossings into the bridge camp from Mexico.
The Del Rio Sector leads the nation in the apprehension of Haitian and Venezuelan nationals. Migrant apprehensions for the month of August 2021 were more than 500% higher than last year’s total for the month. This year, the sector has apprehended 214,993 since October 1, 2020.
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.