Texas Border

Gov. Abbott Walks Back Plan to Close Border Entries; Migrants Top 10,000 in Del Rio

The number of migrants in Del Rio has more than doubled in 48 hours and is expected to top 11,000 sometime Friday

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Thousands of migrants, mostly people from Haiti fleeing instability in their country following an assassination and a devastating earthquake, are gathered under an international bridge in Del Rio seeking refuge in the United States.

NBC News reports the number of migrants topped more than 10,000 Friday, according to two senior Department of Homeland Security officials. The number of migrants is expected to reach more than 11,000 by the day's end -- double the number that was there two days ago.

Most of the Haitian migrants have not come from the island nation directly, but had been living in South America and made their way to Del Rio along a common smuggling route used by cartels, NBC News reported.

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Migrants crossing the Rio Grande River into Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 16, 2021.

Video recorded on Thursday showed migrants freely walking across shallow sections of the Rio Grande River from Cuidad Acuña into Del Rio, Texas.

According to NBC News, migrants crossing the river and arriving at the makeshift processing center under the bridge are given emergency supplies like water and infant formula. They are then processed before being taken to a Border Patrol station or Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

On Thursday Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas law enforcement would shut down six points of entry from Mexico but a short time later he reversed that order.

Migrants, mostly Haitians but also some Cubans, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans, are crossing the Rio Grande back into Mexico to stock up on essentials they say they are not receiving on the American side of the border.

The governor said he was acting at the request of the federal government and said in a statement "the Biden administration has now flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security."

But that's not the story a customs and border patrol spokesperson told The Texas Tribune who said there was never a plan to shut down entry points they operate.

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-23, whose District runs from San Antonio to El Paso and includes a large part of the border through West Texas, released a series of photos on Twitter Thursday showing the growing number of migrants seeking help and refuge in the U.S.

Gonzales tweeted Thursday "there is virtually no border in Del Rio. Migrants are crossing back and forth from Mexico with ease."

The representative was at the border Thursday expressing support for agents trying to handle the escalating situation.

"Border patrol agents are doing everything they possibly can. God bless them for the work that they're doing to push back against it but there's thousands- there are literally thousands of migrants that have come. "

Abbott said the Texas National Guard and Texas State Police will remain at the border to deter crossings.

NBC News reported CBP does not test migrants in custody for COVID-19 unless someone is showing symptoms. COVID-19 tests on migrants are done by non-governmental organizations if and when they leave CBP custody.

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