CARRIZO SPRINGS, Texas – Seven months after Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration in response to the border crisis, the influx of undocumented immigrants continues. According to a public notice issued by the City of Carrizo Springs, the Eagle Pass Border Patrol facility has “no vacancy due to the high volume of migrants.”
Now, Border Patrol agents announced it would soon release those who have been processed and cleared background and criminal checks.
The news, according to Carrizo Springs Mayor Oscar Puente, came as a shock.
“We were told (Border Patrol) got a call in the morning (Wednesday)… from the federal government, you know, to start releasing immigrants into the city of Carrizo Springs,” Puente said. “(The) agent in charge (said it) could be 10, could be 50, could be 150 (individuals released). I mean, the daily tally will change day-to-day once they start releasing them.”
The public notice claims Border Patrol is in charge of vetting the individuals before their release. Those involved in human smuggling or criminal activity will not be part of the release, according to Puente.
The public notice reads in part, “These individuals have been processed with a background and criminal check… After being processed here in Carrizo Springs, the migrant is issued a document that states he or she has gone through the processing stage and will provide proof to any law enforcement official.”
City officials admit they’re not prepared and have reached out to the City of Uvalde for guidance on coordinating the release of migrants.
“We’re starting from scratch, literally,” Puente said. “(Along with other parts of) the border, you have charities and churches that help these immigrants. And here (in Carrizo Springs), there’s nothing at this point in place.”
Residents like Peter Pérez have concerns over the decision to release undocumented immigrants into the community.
“If they’re going to be dropped off here, do they have money? Who’s going to take care of them? Are they free to roam,” Pérez said.
Pérez was born in Carrizo Springs and has taken on a role as a community advocate focused on the border since March of last year. He began a group on Facebook named the Dimmit County Border Crisis Reports after he learned there was an influx of undocumented immigrants through a national report.
“We were unaware of that at the time, so that shocked us,” Pérez said. “So what we did ourselves is just said, ‘Hey, let’s get involved, start asking questions.’ And what that led to was the breaking of more information that made us concerned.”
Now, he has called for more transparency from both government agencies and officials.
“I believe that (a public notice is) not enough because we (can) utilize our local newspaper. We do utilize Facebook, but (we can’t have) better connectivity from our leaders to our citizens’ lives as often as possible,” Pérez said. “So we can, of course, avoid gossip and then the spreading of needless fear. I would like for our leaders to really pay attention to what’s happening here in our community. We are an example that this border crisis is real, regardless of what many might think further north. This is happening. We have been negatively impacted for over a year.”
The release of migrants could begin by the end of the week. A drop-off location in Carrizo Springs has yet to be established. However, Puente said it could be a gas station.
“(Border Patrol) wants to drop them off in the town,” Puente said. “There’s some, you know, convenience stores for them to get something to eat. It will be (at a location) further away from the schools to keep the community feeling safe.”
KSAT 12 reached out to the Border Patrol Del Rio Sector that oversees Carrizo Springs for comment. In an email late Wednesday afternoon, a public affairs representative with U.S. Customs and Border protection said, “Statement is still pending.”
KSAT 12 also reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Laredo on how and if they plan to help the migrants released. We are waiting to hear back.
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