DEL RIO (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 25th September, 2021) Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Martinez told Sputnik US Federal and local authorities accomplished a rigorous task to clear more than 15,000 asylum-seeking migrants from an encampment in the Texas border town of Del Rio, especially because they were able to prevent any injuries or deaths.
“Today at 11:41 (CDT, or 16:41 GMT), watching the last person get on the bus and get out of there was a great feeling of accomplishment to have moved 15,000-plus people out from under that bridge who were living in basically third-world conditions,” Martinez said.
Local law enforcement initially did not have enough manpower, food or water to deal with the migration surge last week, however, the arrival of state and federal resources over the last several days improved conditions at the camp.
Earlier on Friday, President Joe Biden said that images of Border Patrol agents on horseback allegedly mistreating migrants were horrible, and he promised that the agents would pay and there will be consequences.
“If Biden would come down here he would see the good hard work that was being done by all the agents on the ground,” Martinez said in response to Biden’s comment. “It’s sad that one incident is going to distract from all the hard work that the men and women put into this to get this thing cleaned up in eight days.”
US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the federal Border Patrol agents involved in the incident involving the alleged whipping of Haitian migrants while on horseback had been assigned to administrative duties and were no longer working with migrants.
“The pictures, the videos that you see do not have the same meaning unless you have feet on the ground and you’re watching with your own eyes. It’s very easy to judge when you’re 2,000 miles away,” Martinez said.
The Sheriff emphasized that the migration surge has been steady since Biden came into office on January 20.
“When they were going through their campaign spill that they were going to be more welcoming, I think they (migrants) paid attention and they listened and when the opportunity came was there they came,” Martinez said.
“With the media being down here March and April and watching these people come across and seeing how easy it is, so I kinda blame some of it on the media and the immigrants too because they call (family) back and say it’s easy and safe on both sides (of the border),” Martinez said. “Smugglers were watching the same media and saw how easy it is.”
Some 15,000 migrants, mostly from Haiti, arrived in Del Rio, Texas, over the last week, prompting Texas to declare a state of emergency and deploy additional state police officers and National Guard troops to stem the surge.
Mayorkas said on Friday afternoon that the United States to date conducted 17 flights to Haiti to transport about 2,000 individuals who tried to cross the southern border of the United States. Other migrants from the group in Del Rio are being processed at US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities to determine if they are eligible for asylum, according to the sheriff.