Migrants trying to find shelter along the Texas-Mexico border and officials are bracing for what is expected to be a life-endangering Arctic blast starting Thursday and continuing through the Christmas weekend.
The cold snap could prove deadly for migrants crossing the Rio Grande in large groups. Temperatures in the border region are expected to remain below freezing beginning Thursday when overnight lows will reach 19 degrees Fahrenheit with expected wind chill temperatures in the single digits in several border cities.
This presents a challenge for federal, state, and local officials as they try to figure out what to do with the thousands of migrants entering the Lone Star State every day. In El Paso and Eagle Pass, Border Patrol facilities remain above capacity forcing officials to release thousands of migrants into local communities.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott called upon President Joe Biden to take immediate action and deploy federal assets to address the dire border crisis as the dangerous polar vortex moves into Texas.
“This terrible crisis for border communities in Texas is a catastrophe of your own making,” the governor wrote in a letter to the president. “These communities and the state are ill-equipped to do the job assigned to the federal government—house the thousands of migrants flooding into the country every day. With perilous temperatures moving into the area, many of these migrants are at risk of freezing to death on city streets.”
“The need to address this crisis is not the job of border states like Texas,” Abbott continued. “Instead, the U.S. Constitution dictates that it is your job, Mr. President, to defend the borders of our country, regulate our nation’s immigration, and manage those who seek refuge here.”
If the weather forecast holds true, this will be one of the coldest Christmas holidays in Texas since 1983. The cold temperatures will likely exacerbate conditions in places where migrants must wait hours outdoors for strained Border Patrol transportation resources to become available. In El Paso, nearly two thousand migrants remain queued along the Rio Grande waiting for limited detention space in Border Patrol processing facilities to become available due to overcrowding.
The large migrant groups crossing into Eagle Pass routinely exceed 200 in size and at times have crossed the Rio Grande in numbers as large as 700. When the group size climbs to 700, at least 14 bus trips are required to move the migrants’ meaning hours of outdoor wait time for most.
The same limited fleet of buses must also transport migrants from Border Patrol processing centers to ports of entry for those being returned to Mexico or to local charity shelters for release into the United States. Without close coordination between authorities, city officials, and the Border Patrol, a significant risk of exposure-related injuries is likely.
Governor Abbott expanded the use of buses to transport migrants from the Del Rio Sector to include the El Paso. Following the El Paso mayor’s disaster declaration, the Texas Division of Emergency Management bused hundreds of migrants from El Paso to the sanctuary cities of New York and Chicago, Breitbart Texas reported.
Texas National Guard soldiers deployed this week to El Paso under Operation Lone Star began stringing razor wire and positioning vehicles and manpower along the main border crossing areas to deter and turn back migrants attempting to cross into Texas.
According to the latest forecasts along many areas in the Texas border region, by Thursday evening, temperatures will drop into the 30s accompanied by high winds. In Eagle Pass, temperatures are expected below 20 degrees with a wind chill much lower. In El Paso, temperatures will also fall into the low 20s as migrants continue camping on the streets. Low temperatures below freezing are anticipated to continue through the Christmas weekend and into Monday.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face
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.
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