Texas Border Wide Open as Sector Shutters Stations for Catch and Release

Migrants Detained in Eagle Pass as Christmas Approaches. (Photos: Getty Images)
Photos: Getty Images

The overwhelming surge of migrants crossing the Rio Grande forced the busiest border sector in Texas to close Border Patrol stations so personnel may be reassigned to migrant processing and transportation duties. According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection source, the announcement came on Friday, ordering managers to cease operations at stations in Carrizo Springs, Comstock, Uvalde, and Brackettville, Texas.

The move will leave more than ten thousand square miles within the sector without any Border Patrol presence. In recent weeks, the Biden administration shuttered the Eagle Pass Bridge I Port of Entry and the railroad bridge linking Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras, Mexico, to reassign personnel to address the continuing migrant surge. The railroad line was shut to slow the flow of migrants as that is the primary mode of transportation for the groups of migrants, sometimes in the thousands, to reach the U.S. border from the interior of Mexico.

The rail bridge reopened earlier Friday, signaling the flow of migrants may continue unabated in the coming days. The announcement on Friday also included instructions to put some Border Patrol agents and managers on notice that holiday leave, scheduled more than a year in advance may be canceled for the few employees that qualified. The source told Breitbart Texas, as with previous migrant surges in the area, DHS has not put forth any solution to the massive crossings and has left the Border Patrol to deal with the monumental task of providing humanitarian care for thousands arriving daily.

The source told Breitbart Texas the move to shutter operations could not have come at a worse time. “The cartels know that we have fewer agents on patrol during the holiday season, we heighten our alert during these times to combat this,” the source explained. “With no agents on patrol inland or on the immediate border, we are inviting them to move contraband or high-value targets at will, with no threat of apprehension.”

As reported by Breitbart Texas, earlier this week, the agency shut all Border Patrol highway inspection checkpoints for the same reason. The checkpoints are a critical tier in the Border Patrol’s security strategy and serve as the last line of defense to prevent migrants and narcotics from leaving the border region. As of Saturday morning, the processing facility was nearly five times over capacity, holding 4,800 migrants in a soft-sided processing facility designed to hold 1,000.

At a temporary outdoor staging site near the Camino Real International Bridge, nearly 500 migrants still await transportation, according to the source. The source says the administration is choosing to exercise options that further decrease border security to address the surge instead of ending the widescale practice of “catch and release.”

“It boggles the mind that we are leaving the border open, not responding to migrant incursions onto private property, or stemming the flow of fentanyl simply because we can’t effectively remove migrants who we know do not qualify for asylum,” the source emphasized. Policies previously available to the Border Patrol, including the Remain in Mexico and others that stemmed the abuse of the asylum system, are no longer an option under the current administration, the source explained.

The impacts of the crossings are also felt by local communities that rely on the ports of entry for legal crossings for tourism, shopping, and employment. The highway checkpoints serve as the last line of defense for the Border Patrol to detect human smuggling and other cross-border crimes such as fentanyl smuggling. The closed stations will also not be available to respond to calls for assistance from local law enforcement miles from the border.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, the increase in crossings has frustrated local residents and city leaders who are exacerbated by the level of migrant crossings facing the small town of Eagle Pass, Texas. Mayor Rolando Salinas took to social media earlier this month to express his frustration with the surge of migrants flooding into his city. Describing the constant flow of migrants into the city as an immigration disaster, Salinas chided Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for visiting Uvalde, Texas — a city 60 miles away from the border region — but failing to visit one of the busiest migrant crossing spots in Eagle Pass during the visit.

Migrant crossings remained roughly 2,000 per day within the Del Rio Sector and peaked last week at more than 4,000 in one 24-hour period. Most of the migrants being encountered in the sector are Venezuelans, Hondurans, and Colombians, according to the source. Most arrive at the border city of Piedras Negras on freight trains and immediately cross the Rio Grande into the neighboring city of Eagle Pass. Law enforcement and military authorities on both sides of the border have remained powerless to slow or stop the crossings.

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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