DEL RIO, Texas — The Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, Raul Ortiz, confirmed that border patrol agents are out-numbered in Del Rio, Texas.
During an interview with KENS 5, Ortiz described the current humanitarian crisis involving more than 13,000 migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border as unprecedented.
“We’ve never seen a migration population explode so quickly on the immediate border like we saw over the last 72 hours,” he said.
Ortiz flew from Washington D.C. to his hometown of Del Rio on Friday to see the situation for himself. Thousands of people, mainly Haitians, are camping under the international bridge connecting Del Rio, Texas, to Ciudad Acuña in the Mexican state of Coahuila.
The Associated Press followed the recent journey of dozens of Haitians through the jungles of South and Central America. Haitians are fleeing their unstable country. Political turmoil and a decade of natural disasters have wiped away infrastructure, resources and jobs.
In an effort to redirect more federal agents to the camp of migrants, the Biden administration temporarily closed the Del Rio border bridge at 6 p.m. Friday. U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed people will need to drive an hour away to Eagle Pass, Texas, to cross in or out of the U.S.
Ortiz said more customs officers and border patrol agents will arrive in Del Rio within the next 24 hours. Buses are coming, too.
“We’re going to be running these buses 24/7. And I’m confident within the next 3 to 4 days we can make a serious dent in the population that we have underneath the bridge," Ortiz said.
Local leaders are hopeful. Both the mayor of Del Rio and the Val Verde county judge have expressed concerns about public safety.
“From my perspective, we need to do everything we can to manage the safety and security of the migrants, the community and of course our agents,” Ortiz said.