Border Patrol agents offered specific suggestions to bolster processing in Del Rio, Texas, as early as June because of concerns that facilities would become overwhelmed, emails reviewed by ABC News reveal.
Members of the National Border Patrol Council called for the use of digital tablets with wireless data capabilities so they could be used for "early initiation of the migrant intake process immediately after encounters with Customs and Border Protection." The Del Rio Sector Border Patrol management, an arm of the Homeland Security Department, did say over email it was exploring the option. However, "it never materialized into anything of substance," Jon Afinsen, the National Border Patrol Council's vice president told ABC News.
Eventually, thousands of Haitian migrants, fleeing multiple crises in their home country, gathered in Del Rio, and Afinsen says efforts to handle the surge only began last week when the situation had already become too challenging. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was asked about the emails, which could be seen as early warning signs about the lack of preparedness, by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) on Wednesday, per ABC News. Mayorkas responded by saying the Biden administration was hampered by how rapidly the "unprecedented" migration occurred. Read more at ABC News.