LIVE BLOG: Haitian migrants also arrive in Reynosa as Del Rio grapples with its influx
DEL RIO, Texas (Border Report) – The international bridge to Mexico remains closed as the number of migrants – mostly Haitians – living under the Del Rio International Bridge approaches 15,000 and increases hourly. Federal and state law enforcement have rushed to this rural border town at the heart of an international humanitarian crisis. Read updates from Del Rio Borders Report correspondent Sandra Sanchez below.
Saturday September 18, 8:10 p.m.
Read Sandra Sanchez’s latest report on the influx of soldiers and national guards to the border below.
Saturday September 18, 7:45 p.m.
A sudden storm blew over Del Rio, Texas, bringing winds and rain and dropping temperatures in the ’70s, from triple digits. It’s a welcome respite for everyone – law enforcement, media and migrants who lived in stifling conditions under the Del Rio International Bridge for days in 100 degree heat.
Saturday September 18, 6:15 p.m.
Felicia Rangel-Samponaro, co-director of the Sidewalk School for Children Asylum Seekers, told Border Report she was in Reynosa, Mexico, helping Haitian migrants who have just arrived in a caravan of 400 people south of the town of McAllen, Texas. âI have 9 Haitian asylum seekers in my car,â she said. âWe are surrounded by the Mexican army. She said other volunteers “and foreigners” were also helping to pick up migrants on the road.
Saturday September 18, 4:45 p.m.
Migrant advocates in South Texas told Border Report that a caravan of 400 migrants, mostly Haitians, is entering the Mexican border town of Reynosa, south of McAllen, Texas. More than 15,000 migrants, mostly Haitians, live under an international bridge in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing the Mexican border town of AcuÃ±a in the state of Coahuila last week. Authorities say the migrants are part of a caravan that entered through Panama months ago and headed north.
Saturday September 18, 4:30 p.m.
According to the Associated Press, the Biden administration is stepping up efforts to return large numbers of Haitian migrants to their countries of origin. Border Report has learned that some flights will depart from Laughlin Air Force Base near Del Rio.
The AP reports: âAn American official told The Associated Press on Friday that Haiti’s operational capacity and willingness to accept flights will determine how many there are. The official said progress was being made in negotiations with Haitian authorities. The official said the United States would likely fly five to eight planes a day, starting Sunday, while another official expected no more than two a day and said all migrants would be tested for the COVID-19. The two officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. “
Read the full report here.
Saturday September 18, 2:45 p.m.
Dozens and dozens of Texas state soldiers descend to the banks of the Rio Grande near the bridge, sent by Governor Greg Abbott to help with the migrant situation. Many are seen standing behind the border wall in the shade of a tree in triple-digit heat. Helicopters hum overhead.
Saturday, September 18, 2:05 p.m.
Border patrol officers transport a pregnant woman to emergency care from the bridge in the back of a truck. She was lying down and officers were above her, trying to help her as they walked away.
Saturday September 18, 2:00 p.m.
The mayor of Del Rio, Bruno Lozano, ended a press conference in which he announced that 1,000 state troops were being sent to the border town. He said the number of migrants living under the international bridge is now 14,812, up from 12,500 a day earlier. Lozano was joined by US Representative August Pfluger, R-Texas, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee who blamed the Biden administration and called it a “flash point” in the failed immigration policy.
Saturday September 18 12:30 p.m.
U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement refuse to unload two buses full of migrants at the Humanitarian Coalition at the Val Verde Border after media photographed bags being unloaded from the bottom of a bus. The ICE official shouted at media, including Border Report, on several occasions. Center director Tiffany Burrow asked authorities to unload the migrants – the quantity on board unknown – but eventually the buses left. We did not know what would happen to the migrants. No migrants were photographed.
Saturday, September 18, 11 a.m.
Several stores in the Plaza del Sol shopping center in Del Rio have not opened because many workers live across the Rio Grande in Ciudad AcuÃ±a, in the border state of Coahuila, northern Mexico. Several other businesses in the city of 50,000 also have “CLOSED” signs as many workers were stranded on either side of the border when the international bridge was closed by US Customs and Border Protection at 6 p.m. Friday. .
Saturday September 18, 10:30 a.m.
A delivery truck full of donated goods arrives at the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition which helps more than 200 migrants a day during this wave of migrants to the small town of Del Rio, Texas.
Saturday September 18, 10 a.m.
About 50 pro-Trump supporters have gathered near the closed Del Rio International Bridge to protest what they call the âfailedâ US immigration policy by the Biden administration. The group held signs urging migrants on the bridge to be returned. Some motorists honked and waved, although there were not many as this section of the road is virtually closed. After 90 minutes of high heat, the group walked to the base of the bridge and took a photo next to the “Welcome to Texas” sign and the Texas flag.
Friday, September 17, 9 p.m.
Motorists waiting for the Del Rio International Bridge to reopen were told to move their vehicles as local law enforcement expected a truck with barricades from Laredo, Texas to be delivered. The barricades would allow all law enforcement to pass under the bridge – not the top – Del Rio police told Border Report.
Friday September 17, 8:30 p.m.
Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens visited the closed base of the Del Rio International Bridge and spoke to motorists and pedestrians telling them the bridge would not reopen overnight. He suggested that they drive 57 miles south to Eagle Pass, Texas, to enter Mexico into the town of Piedras Negras. He said the total number of migrants under the bridge is over 13,000.
Friday, September 17, 7 p.m.
There is a rush for hotel rooms and accommodation in this small town of 50,000 as the International Bridge is closed. Many motorists tell Border Report they can’t afford a hotel. A teenager on a bicycle said his whole family lived in AcuÃ±a. He was trying to get back from his job at Del Rio to a warehouse when the bridge was closed before sunset. An elderly couple in a truck asked Border Report for directions from the Mexican border town of Piedras Negras to AcuÃ±a if they crossed the bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas, 87 miles south of Del Rio. They said they had to go home and they didn’t have money for a hotel. They didn’t have a cell phone.
Friday, Sept. 5 p.m., 6 p.m.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are closing the Del Rio International Bridge to the border town of AcuÃ±a in northern Mexico during Friday night rush hour. Hundreds of motorists and pedestrians, many of them on bicycles, wait by the highway, hoping the bridge will reopen. No explanation was given to motorists and no warning was issued to residents before the bridge closed. Many travelers told Border Report they were trying to get home to AcuÃ±a after working the week in the United States and had suitcases in hand. (BELOW: Motorists and pedestrians wait, some with suitcases, in shock as the Del Rio International Bridge was closed before sunset. Photos by Sandra Sanchez / Border Report.)
Friday September 17, 12 p.m.
The Mayor of Del Rio, Bruno Lozano, holds a press conference and announces that he has signed an emergency declaration to close the southbound lanes of the Del Rio international bridge, prevent traffic to Mexico due to 11 500 migrants living under the bridge, most of them from Haiti.
Friday September 17, 9:30 a.m.
Border Report crossed the Del Rio International Bridge to AcuÃ±a, Mexico, and saw migrants building Carrizo cane tents from the banks of the Rio Grande, sleeping on boxes and piles of garbage.