Texas Governor Greg Abbott has asked President Joe Biden to issue an emergency declaration for his state due to the escalating border crisis.
In a letter to the president, Abbott mentioned Val Verde County in particular where Haitian migrants have set up an encampment in Del Rio under the International Bridge. The governor said that as of Saturday there were nearly 16,000 migrants in Del Rio.
"Families, including infants and children, need food, water and medical supplies that the local government cannot supply," Abbott wrote. "Thousands of families are immobilized in 100-degree heat as their numbers continue to swell as they wait to be processed by the approximately 64 federal agents in the area. Individuals are camping in squalid conditions and bathing in muddy river water, causing great health concerns."
Abbott pointed out that Del Rio's population is only 35,000 people, and that this city is not equipped to handle very many migrants.
In addition, Abbott said, the coronavirus pandemic dangerously complicates the situation, as he "has been provided no clear information about whether these individuals have received a COVID-19 vaccination or have been tested for the virus, or if they are exposing Texans and Americans to COVID."
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was on the ground in Texas Monday to address the situation in Del Rio and the Department of Homeland Security is taking various steps, including ramping up efforts to return migrants to Haiti and other countries.