A Texas congressman slammed the White House response to the humanitarian crisis at the border, as mostly Haitian migrants flood the Del Rio crossing.
There were some 14,500 migrants camping under a bridge outside the entry point Saturday, border patrol officials said, a day after footage showed hundreds streaming across the Rio Grande illegally into the Texas encampment from Mexico.
The US is sending a “surge” of 400 Border Patrol agents to the area to restore order, the Department of Homeland Security said Saturday.
Rep. August Pfluger, a Republican who does not represent a border district, said Saturday the response is “not nearly enough to tamper the chaotic situation.”
“I spent the day in Del Rio, TX with local and state leaders and law enforcement—what I heard, and what I saw, was devastating,” Pfluger tweeted.
“There were nearly 15,000 migrants gathered at the port of entry with hundreds more gathering every hour—up from 12,000 just the day before.”
“When I went in up in a helicopter to survey the scene, migrants were literally being pushed over the border. Why is the administration not taking the proper steps to deter this situation?”
The White House said it will ramp up deportation efforts Sunday, with five to eight planes a day sending migrants back to Haiti.
Border officials temporarily closed the border crossing, and re-routed border traffic “more effectively manage resources and ensure uninterrupted flow of trade and travel.”
Pfluger said the number of migrants have more than tripled in three days, and officials fear “the worst is yet to come,” according to Fox News.
“Speaking to Border Patrol agents … they’re worried about what is behind here, they’re worried about coordination with Mexico,” he reportedly said from the border.
Many Haitians have been migrating to the US from South America since a deadly 2010 earthquake to escape poverty and hunger in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Some said a recent earthquake and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse has made the country even more unstable.
“We are all looking for a better life,” Junior Jean, a 32-year-old man from Haiti said, as he watched migrants carry water or food across the knee-high river water.
“In Haiti, there is no security,” said Fabricio Jean, a 38-year-old Haitian who arrived with his wife and two daughters. “The country is in a political crisis.”
Some migrants said they would be undeterred by the ramped-up deportation effort and would continue to camp under the bridge and seek asylum.
With AP wires