Eagle Pass, Texas, has become ground zero in the ongoing immigration crisis, with nearly 14,000 migrants swamping the city in just two weeks, constituting almost half of its population. The overwhelmed city government had no choice but to declare a state of emergency.
Mayor Rolando Salinas reports an unprecedented surge of 4,000 illegal crossings on September 20th, followed by another 2,500 on September 18th. This surge adds to the approximately 7,200 illegal crossers apprehended in the previous week. Rep. Tony Gonzalez warns that another 3,000 are poised to enter on Thursday, and Border Patrol estimates that by Friday, an astonishing 10,000 migrants will have illegally entered Eagle Pass in a single week.
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. pic.twitter.com/eMtLS8Z6WI
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 20, 2023
But it’s not just the numbers that are concerning; it’s who these migrants are. Many are from Venezuela, and as Mayor Salinas points out, “Not all of these people come in peace.” This alarming influx is straining the city’s already stretched resources, especially the police force and fire department, and even swamping the local hospital.
Eagle Pass, with a population of 29,000, now has nearly 50 percent of its populace composed of migrants. This situation echoes the crisis of 2021, when the city faced a similar ordeal with Haitian immigrants.
To make matters worse, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing facility can handle only 1,000 people at a time. Overflow facilities are set up at the international bridges, causing significant disruptions to local commerce, with an estimated daily loss of $15,000 for the local economy.
Processing times for these immigrants are also longer than usual, potentially taking more than seven days. Some have been redirected to border facilities in Laredo and El Paso, which are already grappling with increased asylum seekers.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott points the finger at the federal government, blaming Border Patrol agents for cutting razor wire installed along the river by National Guard members under his direction. He has deployed additional guard members to manage the crisis.
Amid this influx, one troubling incident highlights the concerns. A 64-year-old Peruvian undocumented immigrant named Roberto Emilio Vasquez-Santamaria, who crossed the border in May, was detained at Eagle Pass. Shockingly, he was later arrested in connection to a homicide in the city on September 18th.
CBP processes migrants and releases them with a notice to appear in court for future proceedings. But what happens if they commit crimes after entering the country? This incident raises serious questions about the handling of these cases.
As the situation escalates, one thing is clear: Eagle Pass is bearing the brunt of the immigration crisis, and the consequences are far-reaching and potentially dangerous.