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Communities along the Texas border with Mexico are bracing for a massive surge of migrants that are expected to arrive after the Biden administration implements the end of Title 42 removals. Local and county officials claim they will need the federal government to step up and help as the number of migrants arriving in their cities is expected to grow exponentially.
“If people think 2021 was a crisis … when Title 42 is repealed, it will be a disaster across the whole border,” said Valverde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez during an interview with Breitbart Texas. Martinez is one of several border area officials who spoke on and off the record with Breitbart Texas and expressed concerns and are asking the federal government to step up and deal with the issue.
On May 23, the Biden administration is expected to end Title 42 enforcement, a policy that allowed immigration officials to expel certain groups of asylum seekers due to the spread of COVID-19. As Breitbart Texas reported, officials within the Department of Homeland Security forecasted an exponential increase in migrants reaching the border once Title 42 is removed.
“We are going to be overwhelmed,” McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos told Breitbart Texas. The city has been at the forefront of the immigration crisis since a large number of migrants seeking asylum who are detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley are released into that community. From the border city, the migrants then board buses or planes to other parts of the country. Villalobos has been sounding the alarm and even sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden asking him to reconsider ending Title 42 enforcement, Breitbart Texas reported.
“A big concern is that the government has given almost two months’ notice that this policy is going to end,” Villalobos added. The message getting across is that the United States will have an open-door policy, he said.
In the case of McAllen, non-governmental organizations in the downtown area provide the migrants with food and clothing as they wait for their buses to leave. The issue was manageable when federal authorities would release around 1,200 a day into McAllen, Villalobos said.
“My concern is public safety,” the mayor explained. “When you release too many and the (NGOs) can’t take them anymore, they are going to be out on the streets. You will have women and children in the streets and then you will also have groups of men … it’s going to be chaotic.”
In Brooks County, Texas, located about 60 miles north of McAllen, Sheriff Benny Martinez expects the flood of migrants to add to the already existing level of chaos in his county.
“We have already seen nearly 30 deaths this year in our county,” Sheriff Martinez reported. “On top of that, we experience dangerous pursuits on a near-daily basis as the human smugglers attempt to evade arrest.”
“Ending Title 42 will increase the border crossings which will lead to more people attempting to circumvent the Border Patrol checkpoint in our county,” the sheriff explained. “This will mean more deaths as Border Patrol agents will be occupied along the border and have fewer resources in our county.”
Further west in the city of Eagle Pass, Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber is expecting a similar situation to the one expressed by the sheriffs above. However, unlike Villalobos, both Schmerber and Joe Frank Martinez are not so much concerned with migrants once they are released, but with migrants as soon as they cross the Rio Grande. Currently, Maverick County has become one of the busiest crossing points used by human smugglers to bring migrants into the country.
“U.S. Border Patrol can’t keep up,” Schmerber said. “Just last week I was driving to Quemado (a nearby city) and on the side of the highway I encountered 155 people walking looking for (USBP) … we are still seeing very high numbers.”
Schmerber said Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and National Guardsmen have provided manpower to assist an overwhelmed Border Patrol and his deputies. Thanks to state grants, Schmerber has been able to get ten additional deputies for the county. However, the size of the county, the limited manpower, and their regular law enforcement duties all would be put to the test with an expanding crisis.
Last year, Valverde County dealt with a major crisis as more than 14,000 Haitian migrants camped under the international bridge in Del Rio. Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez has been preparing his deputies in case a similar scenario presents itself. The sheriff drafted a plan to move personnel, redirect patrols, transport, and court security deputies to assist USBP should the need arise. “I’ve got limited funding available from the State’s Operation Lone Star and also some overtime funding under Operation Stone Garden for the initial response if required. I hope it doesn’t come to that.” He said, “It’s not looking good though.”
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at [email protected].
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at [email protected].
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.