DEL RIO, Texas — Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas delivered some astonishing remarks about the humanitarian crisis occurring locally. A few hundred yards from a squalid migrant camp at a closed international port of entry, Mayorkas told a gaggle of reporters that “our borders are not open.”
Mayorkas’ comments raised eyebrows among locals and law enforcement. Despite declarations of a closed border, he stood near an encampment where thousands of migrants were detained in squalid conditions after meeting little to no resistance at crossing points.
Mayorkas’ comments were delivered at a 200-mile stretch where federal agents cannot afford the manpower to perform routine patrols. All inland highway interdiction checkpoints in the Del Rio Sector are closed to throw personnel at the border zone. Migrants cross unimpeded. Even those who wish to surrender to Border Patrol for asylum processing often wait hours for an agent to happen upon them within the Del Rio city limits.
Contrary to Mayorkas’ statement, the borders are wide open to irregular migration. They are, however, closed to those wishing to cross legally. United States citizens and green card holders who rely on crossing the border bridges for work or commerce are locked on both sides of the Rio Grande. The ports of entry in Del Rio are closed for all.
As Mayorkas delivered his remarks on the international bridge he shut down on Friday, he said nothing about the devastating effects the closure has on those who live and work in Texas and Mexico. Employers’ staff rosters are short with workers stuck at home for an undetermined period.
Wage earners in the service industry cannot afford lost hours during a pandemic. The lost services to the community is felt as local hotels are operating with minimal staff at maximum occupancy.
The secretary had no words for the workers who may face weeks of unemployment due to the interruption in border crossings between Del Rio and Ciudad Acuna.
Secondly, the Secretary told reporters when asked why it took so long for the administration to respond adequately to the situation, “the volume was rather sudden, rather dramatic, rather quick.”
It was no secret these migrants have been fighting their way through Mexico to get to Del Rio for weeks.
For nearly a month, constant news reports from Breitbart Texas followed the migrant population count and eventually about the population at the camp. These data did not escape the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The government’s own press releases helped to tally the arrivals.
In early September, 500 migrants were detained by DHS at the camp. By September 12, 1,500 were detained. By the end of that same day, 2,000 had arrived. On the 14th, 3,000 were living in squalor below the bridge. By the 15th, 5,000 had arrived without a federal response.
Despite the continuous reporting on the matter from both sides of the border since July, the administration’s explanation of events was that it was caught off-guard.
Mayorkas told the gaggle, “If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned.” As reporters departed, van loads of migrants being dropped off at a Del Rio transportation hub were plainly visible. These actions continue in Del Rio and surrounding communities.
Despite the removal flights for some to Haiti, thousands were freed in recent months due to the overcrowding in federal facilities. At the current rate of removal flights, it will take several months to empty the camp without more built-out detention space.
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.