Communities along Texas’ border with Mexico are bracing for a massive wave of migrants expected to arrive after the Biden administration implements an end to Title 42 evictions. Local and county officials say they will need the federal government to step in and help, as the number of migrants arriving in their cities is expected to increase exponentially.
“If people think 2021 was a crisis…when Title 42 is repealed, it’s going to be a disaster all across the border,” Valverde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez said in an interview with Breitbart Texas. Martinez is one of many border area officials who have spoken formally and informally with Breitbart Texas and expressed their concerns and are calling on the federal government to step in and fix the issue.
On May 23, the Biden administration is expected to end enforcement of Title 42, a policy that allowed immigration officials to deport certain groups of asylum seekers due to the spread of COVID-19. As Breitbart Texas reported, Department of Homeland Security officials projected an exponential increase in the number of migrants reaching the border once Title 42 was removed.
“We’re 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 asylum-seeking migrants detained by US Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley were released into this community. From the border town, migrants then board buses or planes to other parts of the country. Villalobos sounded the alarm and even sent a letter to US 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 that comes through is that the United States will have an open door policy, he said.
In McAllen’s case, non-governmental organizations in the city center are providing migrants with food and clothing while they wait for their bus to depart. The problem was manageable when federal authorities were releasing about 1,200 a day to McAllen, Villalobos said.
“My concern is public safety,” explained the mayor. “When you release too many and the (NGOs) can no longer take them, they will end up on the streets. You will have women and children in the streets and then you will also have groups of men… it will be chaotic.
In Brooks County, Texas, about 60 miles north of McAllen, Sheriff Benny Martinez expects the flood of migrants to add to the level of chaos already existing in his county.
“We have already seen nearly 30 deaths this year in our county,” Sheriff Martinez reported. “On top of that, we face dangerous chases almost daily as smugglers try to evade arrest.”
“The end of Title 42 will increase border crossings, which will cause more people to attempt to circumvent the Border Patrol checkpoint in our county,” the sheriff explained. “It will mean more deaths because Border Patrol agents will be busy along the border and have fewer resources in our county.”
Further west in the town of Eagle Pass, Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber expects a situation similar to that expressed by the sheriffs above. However, unlike Villalobos, 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 smugglers to bring migrants into the country.
“US Border Patrol can’t keep up,” Schmerber said. “Last week I was driving to Quemado (a nearby town) and on the side of the highway I encountered 155 people walking in search of (USBP)…we’re still seeing very high numbers.”
Schmerber said soldiers from the Texas Department of Public Safety and National Guardsmen provided manpower to help an overwhelmed Border Patrol and its deputies. Thanks to state subsidies, Schmerber was able to obtain ten additional deputies for the county. However, the county’s size, limited workforce, and their regular law enforcement duties would all be tested with an expanding crisis.
Last year, Valverde County faced a major crisis as more than 14,000 Haitian migrants camped under the Del Rio International Bridge. Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez has prepared his deputies in case a similar scenario arises. The sheriff drafted a plan to move personnel, redirect patrols, transportation, and court security assistants to assist the USBP when needed. “I have limited funding available from the state’s Operation Lone Star and also overtime funding through Operation Stone Garden for initial response if needed. I hope it won’t come to that. He said, “It ain’t pretty though.”
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist from 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 Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor 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@example.com.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief of Law Enforcement Operations, directing the operations of nine Border Patrol Stations in the Del Rio, Texas area. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.
Bob Price is associate editor and main 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 are you getting at? Sunday morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Confront