With U.S.-Mexico border apprehensions up exponentially from last year and a crowd of thousands of migrants congregating under a bridge leading into Del Rio, Texas, the state’s chief executive called for the temporary closure of six of its 28 ports of entrances.
Abbott said his announcement came at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s request—but a CBP spokesperson confirmed this afternoon the agency couldn’t close border crossings without the federal government’s permission.
While Abbott since realized his mistake, the Houston Chronicle has more on the dispute between Austin and Washington that’s unlikely to be resolved anytime soon:
“[The Biden administration] has now flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security and instead makes it easier for people to cross illegally and for cartels to exploit the border,” Abbott said in the second statement. “I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.”
A CBP spokesperson said the federal government has no such plans to close points of entry, as reported by Uriel J. Garcia and Jolie McCullough of the Texas Tribune.
The Texas Tribune adds:
Abbott announcements come as thousands of asylum-seeking migrants — most of them from Haiti — are waiting under an international bridge in Del Rio to be processed to enter the country, according to Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez.
Though Del Rio has seen a sharp rise in migrant apprehensions this year, the sheriff said people have been arriving in unusually high numbers in recent days. On Saturday, he said, there were 2,500 migrants waiting under the port of entry bridge. By Thursday morning, that number had grown to about 8,400, he said.