While officials struggled to round up illegal migrants in Del Rio amid humanitarian criticisms, residents of the town had been under no lesser stress.
Talking to the Washington Examiner, most residents from the small town of Del Rio dread the prospects of authorities losing control of the massive influx of migrants.
“It’s affecting the community more at the border—the international bridge,” said Welder Freddy Castro. “A lot of people here come and go, and a lot of people from over there [in Mexico] work over here, and a lot of businesses have workers from over there, so that affects them a lot.”
A small city of 35,000 people, Del Rio, saw nearly 15,000 Haitians arriving under the Del Rio-Acuna International Bridge last Saturday.
The Biden administration starting from last Sunday, Sept. 19, had resumed deportation flights under Title 42. It is a Trump-era expulsion program that removes illegal migrants over COVID-19 risks.
Likewise, those not subject to Title 42 could remain in U.S. custody, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
“Either they are put into a—an alternative to detention where they—where biometric data is required, they are required to—they are given a notice to appear, or they are given—or they are put in an ICE facility,” she said.
According to the New York Times, while it has not been specified how officials sort out whom to deport back to Haiti, most were single adults.
Residents were worried about how their town would be able to afford to host the illegal migrants.
“Big Dave” appliance store owner Dave Kinsey was clearly upset.
“It all stinks,” he told the Washington Examiner. “We got to feed them. They’re spending thousands of dollars to feed them. That’s coming out of our pocket.”
“We don’t have the resources in this town. We don’t have the resources in the United States,” said 31-year-long resident Kristen Williams.
“They need to go back to where they came from,” she said, noting that she was uncomfortable thinking of her children’s safety.
Ronald Thomas was as well pessimistic, saying the U.S. government cannot “afford” it. He has had some items from his ranch stolen. Via game cameras set up close to deer feeders, he observed the perpetrators but could not say if they were illegal migrants.
“The ones I saw on the game cam were in regular street clothes. They did have backpacks,” he said.
The Haitians were fleeing their country over poverty, hunger, political unrest, street crimes, and remnants of the August earthquakes.
In a statement, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said the asylum seekers misinterpret the Biden administration’s open border policies, which still aim to facilitate migrants who have legal status.
“I want to make sure that it is known that this is not the way to come to the United States,” he said. “Trying to enter the United States illegally is not worth the tragedy, the money or the effort.”
After days of deportation flights, the DHS on Thursday said there were only above 5,000 illegal migrants gathered under the Internation Bridge, according to The Hill.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) insisted that the surge of illegal border crossers had fostered more active smugglers and other criminals.