Texas Border Mayor Declares Disaster, Closes US–Mexico Bridge After Thousands of Illegal Immigrants Arrive

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The mayor of Del Rio, Texas, has closed the international U.S.–Mexico bridge after thousands of illegal immigrants arrived in the area and set up camps underneath and around the bridge.

Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano, a Democrat, declared a local state of disaster and said his city is closing toll booths on the international bridge to the Mexican city of Ciudad Acuna to halt traffic, while adding that he has requested state assistance to deal with the burgeoning crisis. City officials, he said, are expecting about 8,000 more illegal aliens to arrive in the area in the coming days.

“Dire circumstances require dire responses,” Lozano said during a news conference, saying that such measures are done as a security precaution.

“There’s people having babies down there [under the bridge], there’s people collapsing out of the heat,” the mayor said. “They’re pretty aggressive, rightly so—they’ve been in the heat day after day after day.”

He added that “it’s something that [is] very challenging to describe in words, but it’s extremely chaotic.”

In all, there are about 12,000 illegal immigrants amassed around the international bridge, the mayor said. Highlighting the significant increase in illegal aliens over the past week, Lozano said there were only 2,000 under the bridge on Monday.

“We’re hearing reports that there [are] unauthorized bus systems transporting individuals to the border states” such as Texas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico, he said.

Journalists on the scene say that the majority of those assembled under the bridge are Haitian nationals who are seeking asylum amid political instability. Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens said that he believes the vast majority are Haitian, adding that some families have been under the bridge for six days, according to The Associated Press.

By Jack Phillips

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