A small Texas border town is in the middle of a crime wave, its mayor said Thursday, after 11,500 migrants flocked to his town over the past 10 days, wading across the Rio Grande from Mexico.
Eagle Pass, home to 29,000 permanent residents, is struggling to cope with the sudden influx. Another 4,000 to 9,000 are expected to arrive in the coming days, Mayor Rolando Salinas said.
Salinas, who declared a state of emergency Tuesday evening, said they were overwhelmed.
“There should be consequences for crossing illegally,” he told The New York Post.
Salinas, a lifelong resident of his city, said this was unprecedented.
‘I’ve never seen people crossing the road like that.
“If they want to come, they have to come in through the port of entry. I know people are desperate, but this is a nation of laws.
“Our officers are overwhelmed. Our firefighters respond to calls for migrant care. We don’t have the resources to address this.
“We’ve seen robberies, houses broken into.”
Rolando Salinas, the mayor of Eagle Pass, said there was a spike in crime that accompanied the increase in the number of migrants
A baby is passed under the barbed wire near Eagle Pass on Thursday
Many of the migrants pouring into Eagle Pass this week are from Venezuela. Others come from Mexico, Honduras and other Central and South American countries
The mayor was asked by CNN’s Erin Burnett if he thought President Joe Biden was responsible for the crisis in his city.
“I’ll be honest with you: I am convinced that he bears 100 percent responsibility for this crisis,” he said.
“I haven’t heard from anyone in the administration. The president didn’t make a statement, the vice president. I haven’t heard from anyone.
“No one has bothered to call me or the city staff and say, hey, this is the federal government, we know what you’re going through, we’re concerned about you, this is our action plan. Nothing.
‘We are deserted here. We are on the border. We ask for help. This is not acceptable.’
He said the United States is “a nation of laws.”
Salinas asked that those who want to come to the country must respect the laws, saying it was unfair to those who did.
On Wednesday evening, Biden sent another 800 active-duty troops to the border to work with the 2,500 National Guard members already there.
A cat-and-mouse game took place along the banks of the Rio Grande on Thursday.
Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, tweeted Wednesday that he had sent members of the Texas National Guard to reinstall razor wire along the riverbank after it was removed.
On Thursday, a NewsNation reporter tweeted images of migrants stuck on the banks of the Rio Grande, unable to climb the levee to the U.S. side.
A thick roll of barbed wire blocked their passage.
“We refuse to let them in and send them back,” he wrote on X.
CNN’s Ed Lavandera was live on air Thursday as migrants crawled under the barbed wire
Lavenra points to the group of people who help other migrants crawl under the wire
Members of the Texas National Guard repaired the fence Thursday, but the migrants crawled under it
The Texas National Guard is seen laying the razor wire on Thursday
Migrants are seen looking at the barbed wire in Eagle Pass, Texas
Migrants are seen wading through the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass on Thursday
A woman climbs onto the riverbank, with barbed wire blocking access
But just down the road, CNN reporter Ed Lavendera was speaking live on air when the migrants decided to take matters into their own hands and crawl under the wires.
Some lifted the wire, allowing their fellow migrants to crawl under it.
Others behind them threw backpacks and duffel bags over the barbed wire.
They were completely unfazed by the presence of a TV crew filming the illegal entry.
A Border Patrol agent soon appeared and the group prepared to turn themselves in.
The reasons for the sudden rise in Eagle Pass are unknown.
Lavendera said the end of Title 42 in May halted crossings for several months: Under the new rules that replaced Title 42, anyone caught illegally will be deported and denied entry for five years, with criminal charges if caught found it.
But after a lull, migrants waiting to cross in Mexico became frustrated and are now making their way to the other side.
On Thursday afternoon, migrants lined up to sign waivers to get a seat on one of the buses scheduled by Abbott to take the migrants to New York City.
More than 115,000 migrants have arrived in New York City in the past year.
Migrants sit under a bridge in Eagle Pass Thursday awaiting processing
An Eagle Pass resident plays golf Thursday as migrants look on
Migrants are seen in El Carmen, Mexico, traveling to the border on a train
The train is a common way for Central American migrants to reach the US-Mexico border
Migrants wave from the train at Paredon, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas
Tom Schmerber, the sheriff of Maverick County, said CNN that the increase in the number of crossings was extremely dangerous.
The body of a man, believed to be a migrant, was found in the waters around Eagle Pass on Thursday morning.
On Wednesday, a three-year-old boy died after being swept away as his family attempted to cross the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass.
‘It’s a very strange thing. I never thought I would see something like this in Eagle Pass,” said Schmerber, an Eagle Pass native.
Schmerber, a Democrat, said migrants caught crossing should be sent back across the border immediately, and said Biden was sending the message that the border “will be open.”
‘Some people drown. Some people are going to die,” Schmerber said.
“Some of these ranchers find bodies or bones. So why take a risk? Why do those people have to come like this?’