A surge in migrants across the southern border has created a potential humanitarian crisis in Texas—and more headaches for the Biden administration. More than 10,000 migrants, most of them Haitian, are camped under a Texas bridge in conditions that local officials liken to a shantytown, the New York Times reports. They are waiting to be processed by federal authorities, but there is a massive backlog and more migrants are arriving every day. There were around 5,000 people under the Del Rio International Bridge Wednesday and the number is expected to exceed 11,000 Friday, officials say.
Customs and Border Protection says extra agents are being sent to the area. "To prevent injuries from heat-related illness, the shaded area underneath Del Rio International Bridge is serving as a temporary staging site while migrants wait to be taken into USBP custody," the agency said in a statement to ABC. Migrants tell Reuters that they are low on food and water. Some have been slipping back into Mexico to buy supplies. They say they have been told they could be stuck under the bridge for five days or more.
Homeland Security sources tell NBC that many of the Haitian migrants had been living in South America and were brought to the border along a smuggling route used by cartels. In May, the administration granted Temporary Protected Status to Haitians living in the US but the order does not protect new arrivals from deportation. The administration resumed deportation flights to Haiti Wednesday despite political upheaval and natural disasters in the country, per the Hill.
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Republicans including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are accusing the administration of abandoning border security. "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. He said he had directed the Texas National Guard "to maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings." Sen. Ted Cruz sent a tweet from the bridge Thursday, calling the scene a "manmade disaster" caused by Biden. (More US-Mexico border stories.)