Mexican nationals stranded after Del Rio Port of Entry shut down due to migrant surge

U.S. Customs and Border Protection rerouted Del Rio Port of Entry travelers to Eagle Pass Port of Entry; unknown how long closure will last

DEL RIO, Texas – Dozens of Mexican nationals are stranded in Del Rio after U.S. Customs and Border Protection closed the port of entry due to the surge in migrants crossing the Rio Grande into the United States.

Ana Padron works in Del Rio but lives in Ciudad Acuna. We met her as she sat in her van waiting to see if the Del Rio International Bridge would reopen.

Another Mexican national who only shared her first name, RosaLuz, also works in Del Rio. She said she heard rumors about the closure, but she never received an official notice.

“I have a place to stay, but I don’t know how long this closure will last,” she said.

According to the CBP, the “temporary closure and shift is necessary in order for CBP to respond to urgent safety and security needs presented by an influx of migrants into Del Rio and is effective immediately.”

Travel from the Del Rio Port of Entry was rerouted 57 miles east to the Eagle Pass Port of Entry.

Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano declared a local state of disaster and said the city is closing the toll booths on the international bridge connecting the city to Ciudad Acuña to halt traffic across the bridge, as a security measure.

By Friday afternoon, more than 13,000 migrants crowded underneath the International Bridge in temperatures that reached 101 degrees with the heat index at 105 degrees.

Federal officials did not allow the KSAT crew to go past the fence to see the migrant makeshift camp site.

‘We’re worried about the safety of our community’

Andrea Davis has lived in Del Rio for more than 40 years. She said the current migrant surge is something she’s never seen before.

“I’ve never seen anybody cross the river, ever. I’ve never seen that. As long as I’ve lived here, all my life. Never seen that. And the other day, it was extreme. About 500. All bunched up trying to get up in there,” Davis said.

More than 200,000 people crossed the Southwest Border in August, according to the latest numbers released by CBP. That total is four times more than August 2020. The total this fiscal year so far is more than 1.5 million unauthorized crossings. The majority of the people crossing are single adults following by family units.

Davis does business in Mexico, so she uses the Del Rio International Bridge almost daily. She got stuck in Acuna after the bridge was closed.

Davis described the surge as a “humanitarian crisis.” She said she feels sympathetic for the people trying to seek asylum, but also worries about her city.

“We’re worried about the safety of our community, houses being broken into, We have a ranch, and the ranch has been broken into multiple times,” she said.

The mayor of Del Rio said most of the migrants currently crossing the border are Haitians.

People from Ecuador, Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico are also crossing into the U.S.

The Associated Press reported Friday that the Biden Administration will be expelling Haitians back to their country.

CBP did not provide a timeline for when the Del Rio Internation Bridge will reopen. A Del Rio police officer told KSAT it could be days.

About the Authors:

Brina is the Executive Producer of the NightBeat and KSAT Explains. She has been with KSAT since 2015. She is a Houston native and proud to call San Antonio home.

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.