Eagle Pass issues emergency declaration as thousands flood border town

Immigration Floating Barrier
FILE – A kayaker walks past large buoys being used as a floating border barrier on the Rio Grande, Aug. 1, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas. A federal judge on Wednesday, Sept. 6, ordered Texas to move a large floating barrier to the riverbank of the Rio Grande after protests from the the U.S. and Mexican governments over Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest tactic to stop migrants from crossing America’s southern border. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) Eric Gay/AP

Eagle Pass issues emergency declaration as thousands flood border town

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(The Center Square) – In response to over 4,000 foreign nationals illegally crossing the Rio Grande River between ports of entry and under the international bridge entering Eagle Pass, Texas, instead of entering legally through the port above them, the city issued an emergency declaration.

On Thursday, Mayor Rolando Salinas Jr., issued and signed an emergency declaration in response to “the severe undocumented immigrant surge into the City of Eagle Pass, Texas.” The local state of disaster is good for seven days and can be extended by the city council.

The state of disaster is similar to other disaster declarations border counties and counties impacted by the border crisis have issued since 2021, which remain in effect. Gov. Greg Abbott issued a state of disaster on May 31, 2021, for these counties, which is still in effect. The state of disaster authorizes certain emergency protective measures to be taken related to emergency management and public health.

Eagle Pass’s declaration activates the city’s emergency plan. It also authorizes it to seek additional aid and assistance from the state and federal government.

“The City of Eagle Pass is committed to the safety and well being of our local citizens,” the mayor said. “The emergency declaration grants us the ability to request financial resources to provide the additional services caused by the influx of” illegal foreign nationals.

The Biden administration also announced on Wednesday that it was sending 800 active-duty military personnel to the border. They will join 2,500 National Guardsmen and women already deployed at various ports of entry assigned to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in processing more people into the United States.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection also issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon, stating, “CBP’s Office of Field Operations will temporarily suspend vehicle processing operations at Bridge 1 and the international railway crossing bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas in order to redirect personnel to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with taking migrants into custody. In response to this influx in encounters, we will continue to surge all available resources to expeditiously and safely process migrants. We will maximize consequences against those without a legal basis to remain in the United States. CBP will continue to prioritize our border security mission as necessary in response to this evolving situation.”

In response to the surge and to a video of Border Patrol agents cutting state-erected concertina wire to prevent illegal entry, Gov. Greg Abbott said he was deploying more resources to the area.

“Texas installed razor wire in Eagle Pass to stop illegal crossings,” Gov. Abbott said. “Today the Biden Admin CUT that wire, opening the floodgates to illegal immigrants. I immediately deployed more Texas National Guard to repel illegal crossings & install more razor wire.

Texas Border Czar Mike Banks said, “Not only does President Biden refuse to uphold his constitutional duty to secure our border, but he also undermines the State of Texas as we continue to do everything in our power to secure our border. Texas will NOT back down.”

On Thursday, Gov. Abbott posted additional video footage of National Guard soldiers and DPS officers “repelling illegal immigrants at the border.”

Banks also posted video showing National Guard soldiers erecting new razor wire along the border. He said the Texas National Guard soldiers “are on the ground in Eagle Pass replacing razor wire the Biden administration cut yesterday. Texas will NEVER give up on our efforts to secure the border.”

Currently, Texas counties under disaster declarations include Bee, Brewster, Brooks, Caldwell, Cameron, Chambers, Colorado, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, DeWitt, Dimmit, Duval, Edwards, El Paso, Frio, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Hidalgo, Hudspeth, Jackson, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Kleberg, La Salle, Lavaca, Live Oak, Mason, Maverick, McCulloch, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Refugio, San Patricio, Schleicher, Sutton, Terrell, Throckmorton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Victoria, Webb, Wharton, Wilbarger, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala Counties.

Gov. Abbott’s May 31, 2021, disaster proclamation certifies under Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code “that the surge of individuals unlawfully crossing the Texas–Mexico border posed an ongoing and imminent threat of disaster for a number of Texas counties and for all state agencies affected by this disaster.”

It covers these counties and all state agencies affected by the disaster created by the border crisis. It remains in full force and effect, the governor’s office confirmed with The Center Square, and is renewed every 30 days.

© 2023 Washington Examiner
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