DEL RIO, Texas – On any given day in Del Rio, hundreds of Venezuelans wander from Mexico to the United States across the Rio Grande. They carry more possessions than illegal aliens from most other countries. One woman, who said she was a photographer at home, had her professional Nikon camera equipment in her backpack.
They come ashore and change into dry clothes and throw the wet clothes on the ground. Discarded shoes, many of which look new, are on two main premises on the way from the river. Some pull toothbrushes and clean their teeth.
The career stick rustles along the dirt road as many find cover to go to the bathroom.
State troops are usually in a large dusty parking lot to greet them and hand out water and granola bars to the hungry. The packaging is often thrown on the ground unless a law enforcement officer points it to a trash can.
Sometimes a troop will take a picture of the group, count how many there are and find out where they come from. Many of the new arrivals quickly pull out their smartphones and call loved ones to say they have picked it up.
Del Rio, Texas. 57 illegal aliens from Venezuela Thursday night. Hundreds of Venezuelans now come here every day. pic.twitter.com/qy3hX6dPeB
– Charlotte Cuthbertson (@charlottecuthbo) 4 June 2021
Then everyone waits for Border Patrol to pick them up. It can take about 10 minutes to more than two hours as the agency scrambles to keep up with the overwhelming influx. Bags are thrown into the pickup and the bodies in the back of the air before being flown to the processing center and then released.
“In the past seven days, our agents have encountered more than 5,800 migrants from 29 different countries,” said Austin Skero, border chief of the Del Rio border patrol. wrote on June 4 on Twitter. “At the same time, 63 smuggling attempts were caught on our highways.”
More than 119 000 illegal aliens from 70 countries have been caught in the sector so far this financial year (from 1 October 2020). Del Rio is a city with just over 35,000 people, while the nearby Eagle Pass has about 30,000. The region is mostly farmland.
The number of Venezuelans coming is huge. In this sector alone, with four more months in the fiscal year, 10,864 Venezuelans are apprehended by the border patrol, according to customs and border protection.
By comparison, for the entire fiscal 2020, 135 Venezuelans were arrested.
Many Venezuelans told The Epoch Times that they flew to Cancún, then Monterrey, Mexico, before crossing the river to Del Rio. Some came via Colombia.
A large portion plan to live in Florida – especially Orlando, Tampa and Miami – where they already have relatives.
The boom has mainly taken place over the past few months. On March 8, the Biden government said it would already grant Venezuelans temporary protected status in the United States, and an estimated 320,000 people would be able to legally apply in the country for 18 months.
Temporary protected status, created in 1990, gives citizens of eligible countries the opportunity to stay if they are unable to return safely to their country due to natural disasters, armed conflict or other factors.
Citizens of 12 countries are in the United States with a temporary protected status. The largest numbers come from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti, many with children and spouses of the American citizen. Nationals of Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen also have temporary protected status.
The Trump administration has tried to phase out the program, arguing that it has effectively become permanent residence after repeated expansions, sometimes for decades.
As such, President Donald Trump did not grant Venezuelans temporary protected status, but he did issue an order postponing deportation for a smaller number of Venezuelans on his last day in office.