The federal agency that oversees U.S. borders made the unprecedented move to shut down a port of entry between Mexico and Texas in response to an unmanageable flow of migrants arriving in the thousands overnight.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Trade announced Friday evening that the Del Rio Port of Entry in Texas would immediately stop operating, stopping traffic headed north into the United States or south into Mexico.
"This temporary closure and shift is necessary in order for CBP to respond to urgent safety and security needs presented by an influx of migrants into Del Rio and is effective immediately," the agency said. "It will advance and protect national interests and help ensure the safety of the traveling public, commercial traffic, and CBP employees and facilities."
All vehicular traffic will have to travel an hour's drive to the next closest open port of entry between Eagle Pass, Texas, and Piedras Negras, Mexico.
As of Friday morning, approximately 12,000 people had illegally crossed the border beneath the port of entry, wading through the border river to get into the U.S. as they waited under the bridge to be taken into custody by Border Patrol agents.
Migrants who make it across the river walk a short distance to pass underneath the Acuña - Del Rio International Bridge, where overhead vehicles and pedestrians must pass through CBP inspection before being admitted into the country.
At the start of this week, thousands of migrants began crossing and accumulating each day underneath the bridge, where they would wait to surrender to Border Patrol and be taken to a federal holding station for processing and likely released into the U.S.
Now, the number of people crossing and making it to the bridge, which is on city land, is out of control.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that CBP was shutting down six ports of entry with Mexico. However, he reversed course an hour later, saying the Biden administration changed its mind and refused to shut the crossings despite the governor's plans.
Abbott instead sent more Department of Public Safety officers and the Texas National Guard to the bridge site.
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Original Author: Anna Giaritelli
Original Location: US closes Del Rio border crossing as thousands of migrants illegally cross