DEL RIO, Texas—On any given day in Del Rio, hundreds of Venezuelans wade across the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States. They’re carrying more belongings than illegal aliens from most other countries. One woman, who said she was a photographer back home, had her professional Nikon camera equipment in her backpack.
They arrive on shore and proceed to change into dry clothes, discarding the wet ones on the ground. Discarded shoes, many looking new, dot the pathway up from the river in two main locations. Some pull toothbrushes and clean their teeth.
The carrizo cane next to the dirt road rustles as many find cover to go to the bathroom.
State Troopers are usually onsite in a large dusty parking area to greet them and pass out water as well as granola bars to the hungry. The wrappers are often discarded on the ground unless a law enforcement officer points them to a trash bag.
Sometimes a Trooper will take a photo of the group, count how many there are, and find out where they’re from. Many of the new arrivals are quick to pull out their smartphones and call loved ones to say they made it.
Del Rio, Texas. 57 illegal aliens from Venezuela on Thursday evening. Hundreds of Venezuelans coming through here every day now. pic.twitter.com/qy3hX6dPeB— Charlotte Cuthbertson (@charlottecuthbo) June 4, 2021
Then everyone waits for Border Patrol to come scoop them up. It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to more than two hours as the agency scrambles to keep up with the overwhelming influx. Bags are thrown in the van and bodies pile in the back before they’re whisked to the processing center and then released.
“In just the last 7 days, our agents have encountered over 5,800 migrants from 29 different countries,” Del Rio Sector Border Patrol Chief Austin Skero wrote on Twitter on June 4. “During this same time, 63 smuggling attempts were caught on our highways.”