The bridge enables legal traffic to and from Mexico through the border city of Del Rio.
A temporary camp on the other side of the bridge in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, also has seen large numbers of immigrants, according to local news reports.
On the Texas side, roughly 10,500 people were congregating under the bridge and along roads and grassy areas with no shelter in nearly 100-degree heat as of Thursday night, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano said. They arrived en masse seeking to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents to gain entry to the U.S.
The swell of people came just after Customs and Border Protection announced that 209,000 people were apprehended for entering the southern border illegally in August, a two-decade high, and four times higher than August of last year. In July, the number also exceeded 200,000 for the first time in 21 years.
The agency told ABC News that it was “increasing its manpower in the Del Rio Sector and coordinating efforts within [Department of Homeland Security] and other relevant federal, state and local partners to immediately address the current level of migrant encounters and to facilitate a safe, humane and orderly process.”
“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,” it said, adding that it was providing drinking water, towels and portable toilets.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement earlier Thursday when the numbers were closer to 4,000, saying that CBP requested help from the state of Texas to close ports of entry and secure the border. Abbott responded by directing the Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to shut down six points of entry along the southern border “to stop these caravans from overrunning our state.”
“The border crisis is so dire that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is requesting our help as their agents are overwhelmed by the chaos,” Abbott said. “Unlike President Biden, the State of Texas remains committed to securing our border and protecting Americans.”
But within a few hours, Abbott’s office issued a statement blaming the Biden administration for the chaos and saying the administration reversed its position to not shut down ports of entry on Texas soil. Instead, Abbott directed DPS and the Texas National Guard to “maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.”
The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that it was “not seeking assistance from the State of Texas to shut down ports of entry. It would be a violation of federal law for the Texas National Guard to unilaterally do so.”
Abbott’s Republican challengers in next year’s governor’s race argue the entire Texas National Guard could be called up to secure the Texas border and shut ports of entry on Texas soil if the governor executed his authority as commander in chief of the Texas military under the Texas Constitution and invoked a clause in the U.S. Constitution created to protect states.
Former congressman and Ret. Lt. Col. Allen West, a Republican challenging Abbott in the primary, told The Center Square that Texas does have the authority to protect its border. Abbott has abdicated Texas’s sovereignty, he argues, and Biden has abdicated U.S. sovereignty.
“Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 of the Constitution clearly states that if a state is facing threat of invasion, which Texas is, the state can act without delay,” West says. “The federal government has abdicated the constitutional duty and responsibility” to protect the southern border.
As commander in chief of the Texas military, West says he would deploy the entire Texas National Guard, break them into sectors, position them along the Texas border, provide aerial and ground surveillance, and shut down ports of entry along state roads.
Republican challenger and former state legislator Don Huffines told The Center Square that he would also shut down Texas roads and ports of entry on Texas soil, and not ask the federal government’s permission to do it.
“The only way the Texas border will be secured is when it has a courageous governor who doesn’t ask permission from the federal government,” he said.
He would also invoke Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution to “repel this invasion and deport illegal aliens back across the border.”…Original Source…