‘We see tanks driving by daily’: Eagle Pass residents reflect on President Biden’s executive order on immigration

“The numbers aren’t gonna stop,” the Eagle Pass Border Coalition says

EAGLE PASS, Texas – President Joe Biden’s recent executive order on immigration has limited some asylum seekers from crossing into the United States. The proclamation temporarily limits most unauthorized border crossings.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, “these measures are in effect until 14 calendar days after there has been a 7-consecutive-calendar-day average of less than 1,500 encounters between the ports of entry. The measures would again go into effect, or continue, as appropriate, when there has been a 7-consecutive-calendar-day average of 2,500 encounters or more.”

“The numbers aren’t gonna stop,” Yocelyn Riojas said.

Riojas is with the Eagle Pass Border Coalition. She recently joined the board to help educate her community on what’s going on at the border.

“People are gonna keep crossing,” Riojas said.

President Joe Biden’s executive order limiting immigration was signed on June 4. It’s a proclamation many who live near the border are not on board with. Not necessarily because of the policy, but instead, because of its timing.

“He [did] that just because it’s election time,” Eagle Pass resident Juan Luna said. “Why didn’t he do this a year ago? Two years ago?”

Maverick County Democratic Chair Juanita Hernandez said she is content with both the policy and that President Biden is who signed off on the proclamation.

“Mr. President, there’s a humanitarian crisis on the border,” Hernandez said. “The situation has completely calmed down.”

Eagle Pass residents said crossings have gone down since the order went into effect. However, KSAT saw a family crossing the border Thursday afternoon at Shelby Park.

It’s a park that residents said isn’t public anymore.

“They say our park is accessible,” Riojas said. “It is not. We’re not allowed to even be on the river on kayak. We have no accessibility.”

A Texas National Guardsman told KSAT that residents are allowed inside of Shelby Park but that they’ll need to go up to the gate, inform the guard of what activity they want to do and be given access to get through.

Shelby Park is mostly occupied by the Texas National Guard.

“Everything that’s happening here is also just creating a sense of unsafety with the militarization of our community,” Riojas said. “We see tanks driving by daily.”

While the limits on immigration are temporary, an Eagle Pass neighbor said it can still be harmful for those seeking shelter and asylum.

Residents said the number of migrant crossings appears to be decreasing, but people on both sides of the issue said they want to see better immigration policies.

I would say [it’s] a power struggle, especially with the politicians and the military,” Riojas said. “And everybody’s just trying to get whatever they’re seeking instead of focusing on us locals.”

More coverage of President Biden’s executive order on KSAT:

About the Authors

Zaria Oates is a news reporter for KSAT 12. She joined in June 2024 from Memphis, where she worked at ABC24. Oates graduated from Clemens High School in Schertz and earned a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. She's passionate about learning, traveling and storytelling.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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