With processing facilities more than three times over capacity, the rush of migrants flowing into the small city of Eagle Pass has resulted in migrants being sheltered in an open field near the city’s only open port of entry. According to a source within U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol is now forced to detain migrants outdoors at almost all facilities and near the Camino Real International Bridge II in the heart of the downtown area.
On Wednesday, more than 1,200 migrants were provided thermal mylar blankets and placed in an open field near the international bridge as the agency depleted its capacity to transport and detain the migrants at nearby Border Patrol stations and the only local soft-side processing center known as Firefly. The soft-sided facility, designed to hold 1,000 migrants, is now holding more than 4,000, according to the source, not authorized to speak to the media.
Despite the efforts to quickly move the migrants from the outdoor field near the port of entry, more than 600 await transportation to facilities already holding more than 5,400 migrants. The source told Breitbart Texas, “We have no more room to detain anyone without significant outside intervention by CBP. We are out of options.” The source added that help does not appear to be coming from this administration.
The migrants can be seen scattered across the open field when temperatures in the region dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the early morning hours. The mostly Venezuelan migrants cross into the area in record numbers. According to the source, more than 6,000 have entered the small border city in the last 48 hours. On Tuesday, according to the source, migrant apprehensions reached 8,000 for the day nationwide.
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As reported by Breitbart Texas, the increasing flow of migrants has frustrated local residents, including the city’s Mayor Rolando Salinas, who said, “We’ve had enough.” The migrants are arriving daily to Eagle Pass’ sister city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, aboard freight trains from central and southern Mexico. Despite the adverse impact of the migrant arrivals, which has resulted in the closure of the Eagle Pass port of entry into the city, little is being done on either side of the border to stem the flow.
The closure of one of only two ports of entry that service the city created traffic problems as legal border crossers from the Mexican city of Piedras Negras, home to more than 200,000 residents, are forced to endure longer wait times during the holiday shopping season.
According to the source, most of the migrants detained outdoors after crossing the Rio Grande will be released into the United States to pursue asylum claims. The flow is not only exacerbating the Border Patrol’s capacity to detain and process the latest surge of migrants but is also taxing the city’s only non-government migrant shelter, Mission Border Hope. The shelter relies on government reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate migrant travel from the city to other parts of the United States.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), $363 million was allocated during fiscal year 2023 to enable non-federal entities to offset allowable costs incurred for services associated with migrant arrivals in their communities under the FEMA Shelter and Services Program.
The Border Patrol apprehended nearly 190,000 migrants entering the United States illegally at the southern border in November. The Del Rio Border Patrol Sector, which includes Eagle Pass, is the second busiest border sector for migrant apprehensions, recording approximately 81,000 encounters during the month of November, according to unofficial Border Patrol reports reviewed by Breitbart Texas.
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.