EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The city of Eagle Pass, Texas, issued an emergency declaration as thousands of migrants crossed the Rio Grande from Piedras Negras, Mexico, on Wednesday.
“The City of Eagle Pass is committed to the safety and well-being of our local citizens. The emergency declaration grants us the ability to request financial resources to provide the additional services caused by the influx of undocumented immigrants,” Mayor Rolando Salinas said in a statement.
The emergency declaration will be in place for one week.
Additionally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection scheduled a 6 p.m. shutdown of vehicles at Eagle Pass Bridge 1 with Mexico. “All vehicles must use Bridge 2 to cross to Mexico and/or the United States. The closure is due to the significant influx of migrants in the region. Pedestrian service will remain open under normal hours of operation,” CBP said in a statement.
Thousands of migrants, many of them from Venezuela, have crossed the river in the past few days despite the heavy presence of Texas National Guard troops and Texas Department of Public Safety officers. The migrants are also going around a barrier of buoys placed in the river by Texas authorities and lifting razor wire placed along the U.S. bank by Texas.
On Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott posted a video on X, formerly known as Twitter, apparently showing U.S. Border Patrol agents cutting the razor wire to let migrants through.
“Today, the Biden administration cut that wire, opening the floodgates to illegal immigrants. I immediately deployed more Texas National Guard to repel illegal crossings and install more razor wire,” Abbott tweeted.
Some migrants interviewed on the Mexican side of the river prior to getting into the water said they had been in Mexico for several weeks and could no longer afford to wait due to financial reasons and worries about being victims of crime.
Many were part of family units seeking asylum in the United States.
A woman burst into tears when asked what she felt about being a few yards away from the U.S. border, then took off her shoes and stepped into waist-deep water.
Her husband, a Venezuelan man who held his daughter by the hand as they both approached the Rio Grande was asked why he came. “The future,” he answered.
A young man from Venezuela who also came to Piedras Negras with his family said he had mixed feelings about crossing into the U.S. He was glad to finally be within sight of American soil but was not sure he would be allowed to remain.
The Department of Homeland Security in May established the Circumvention of Legal Pathways rule which may disqualify from asylum migrants who come into the U.S. between ports of entry or fail to seek protection first in other countries they travel through.
“I feel uncertainty. We don’t know if they will let us stay or return us” to Mexico, the man said, adding his family arrived atop a train from Southern Mexico just three days earlier. “There is no guarantee this process will be worth it.”
Mexican authorities estimated the number of crossers in the past couple of days in Piedras Negras to be upwards of 4,000. That figure could not immediately be verified with U.S. Border Patrol.