EXCLUSIVE: 700 Venezuelans Cross into West Texas Border Town in Seven Days
A law enforcement source, speaking on a condition of anonymity, reported the illegal entry of 106 Venezuelan nationals south of Del Rio, Texas, on Thursday. The group consisted of 56 family units and was quickly apprehended by the Border Patrol. They were transported to nearby stations for processing.
Since Friday, more 700 Venezuelan nationals have entered through the small West Texas town. Most will be summarily released into the community to travel to their destination in the United States.
Last Friday, Border Patrol Agents apprehended 167 Venezuelans in the same area. On Sunday, an additional 112 made entry adding to the total. On Monday, 106 Venezuelan nationals made landfall in the same area. On Wednesday, over 200 Venezuelans illegally entered as well.
Del Rio, like other cities across the southern border, has seen its share of the increase in migrant traffic. A soft-sided facility was recently opened within the Del Rio Border Patrol Sector to deal with the influx. Del Rio has dealt with large groups of illegal migrants from outside the usual Central American countries normally encountered throughout other border areas.
Because of the relative safety of Ciudad Acuna, directly across from Del Rio, the area is a draw for large groups of Haitians, Cubans, and Central Africans. Cartel violence has slowed in recent years when compared to other cities in Mexico along the border.
Last month, the Biden Administration granted Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelan nationals for 18 months. The designation applies to those residing in the United States since March 8, 2021. The designation suspends any attempts at removal for the period. Generally, these deadlines are extended–sometimes for years on end. Some critics argue this is a pull factor, encouraging illegal immigration from designated countries.
This group will more than likely be released into the United States to pursue asylum claims even though they would not qualify for the TPS designation. The source reports many of the Venezuelans interviewed during the week directly attributed the suspension of deportations by the Biden Administration as the impetus for their entry into the United States.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.