Illegal immigrants who have gathered in a Texas bridge area will be expelled, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Saturday.
The DHS made the announcement after various reports said that thousands of illegal immigrants are amassing under an international bridge in Del Rio, Texas.
Some 9,000 illegal immigrants, including Haitians, Cubans, and Venezuelans, were in the area, Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez said on Thursday. However, the number has increased to 14,000, a Border Patrol source told The Epoch Times.
The immigration authorities have temporarily closed the Del Rio Port of Entry and rerouted traffic from Del Rio to Eagle Pass, which is about 60 miles away.
The illegal immigrants are being relocated to other processing locations to accelerate the deportation process.
“DHS is conducting regular expulsion and removal flights to Haiti, Mexico, Ecuador, and Northern Triangle countries,” the agency said in a statement.
Updated: Now 14,000 illegal immigrants under bridge, per Border Patrol source.
International bridge is closed to all traffic as massive camp of mostly Haitians forms.
Travelers going to/from Mexico need to travel about 60 miles to Eagle Pass crossing. pic.twitter.com/E33bRytoRS
— Charlotte Cuthbertson (@charlottecuthbo) September 18, 2021
The number of illegal immigrants gathered in the bridge area has skyrocketed in less than a week, from only a couple of hundred under the bridge on Sept. 9.
Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano said earlier the week that another 20,000 are on their way.
“I’m deeply frustrated. The thing that I worry about is a stampede. The thing I worry about is terrorism,” Lozano said.
“This is not secure. This is not defensible,” he said, looking toward the wide-open border and the number of people walking back and forth across it.
“We don’t really know who they are.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that he has directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to “maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.”
“The Biden Administration is in complete disarray and is handling the border crisis as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan,” Abbott said in a statement on Sept. 16.
Most of the illegal immigrants will be expelled under the CDC’s Title 42 authority, and others who are in the United States illegally and can’t be expelled under Title 42 will be placed in expedited removal proceedings, the DHS said.
Title 42 was invoked early in the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic under former President Donald Trump to help control the spread of COVID-19 in detention facilities by turning back migrants encountered by the Border Patrol, without giving them a chance to seek to stay in the United States by asking for asylum or for some other reason.
Emmet Sullivan, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, ruled Friday that the Biden administration can’t use Title 42 to expel illegal immigrants. However, the judge allowed the Biden administration to halt the practice for two weeks.
Zachary Stieber, Charlotte Cuthbertson, and The Associated Press contributed to the report.