Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas, Jr. issued an emergency disaster declaration last week due to the rising number of unlawful migrants crossing from Mexico into the city.
The declaration is scheduled to end on Tuesday but can be renewed and extended by the Eagle Pass City Council. By issuing the declaration, the city has been able to seek federal and state assistance with its border crisis.
The Maverick County Sheriff’s Office estimated that roughly 2,700 unlawful migrants were under the port of entry bridge on Wednesday night waiting to be processed, according to The Texan.
Ali Bradley of NewsNation reported that the bridge was almost completely cleared out by Thursday morning, but more people were expected to arrive throughout the day.
TX: Happening now: Steady stream of migrants in Eagle Pass— There are roughly 250 people now beneath the bridge waiting to be processed.
The city of Eagle Pass is under a local disaster declaration. DHS is sending 800 troops to the southern border to help with the influx. pic.twitter.com/G4oeFd1jzY
— Ali Bradley (@AliBradleyTV) September 21, 2023
NBC News reported on Friday that there were over 8,200 unlawful border crossings into the United States from Mexico in the previous 24 hours, with some 2,600 logged at Eagle Pass.
Valeria Wheeler runs Mission: Border Hope, the only migrant shelter in Eagle Pass. She said the nonprofit was planning an opening ceremony for an addition to the shelter. However, due to the influx of unlawful migrants, the shelter had to cancel the ceremony to deal with the overwhelming number of arrivals, the Eagle Pass Business Journal reported.
In response to the city’s emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security sent 800 troops to Eagle Pass to assist with managing the processing of unlawful migrants. The troops will reportedly not be working to prevent the unlawful migrants from entering the United States.
Bradley posted on X, claiming that the troops would be “ushering migrants in, helping maintain order and doing other administrative duties.”
Gov. Greg Abbott posted a video Wednesday on X that showed troops appearing to cut razor wire meant to prevent unlawful crossings at the border.
“Texas installed razor wire in Eagle Pass to stop illegal crossings. Today the Biden Admin CUT that wire, opening the floodgates to illegal immigrants. I immediately deployed more Texas National Guard to repel illegal crossings & install more razor wire,” the governor wrote.
Abbott and the Biden administration have been at odds over border security. In fact, the two are currently involved in a lawsuit over the floating barriers Abbott had installed on the Rio Grande River, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
The Department of Justice alleged that the barriers pose “threats to navigation and public safety and present humanitarian concerns.”
Abbott has maintained that “Texas has the sovereign authority to defend [its] border.”
The governor has received support from some elected officials across the state, including Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who said in a press release on Wednesday that he is “proud of the work that Governor Abbott, the Texas legislature, … [the] National Guard, and [Texas] Department of Public Safety have done.”
Still, Abbott does have detractors. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) claimed in a statement, “Operation Lone Star is trampling on the rights of border communities, endangering our economic relationship with Mexico, and violating the basic human rights of asylum-seekers.”