During his first press conference on Thursday, President Biden told America that illegal migrant adults and families are turned away at the southern border. On March 16, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the border is “closed.” These statements do not reflect reality for communities near the border, according to Del Rio, Texas, Mayor Bruno Lozano, a Democrat. Lozano first realized his town would be taking in illegal immigrants during the record-breaking winter storm in February. Lozano then sent his first plea to the president, asking Biden to stem the flow of illegal immigrants.
After he asked that no more illegal immigrants be sent to Del Rio to await court dates, he posted a statement:
We do not have the resources available to house and accommodate these migrants within our community. I will have no choice but to use the extreme measure under the emergency declaration as the Mayor of the City of Del Rio, Texas, to refuse the entry of migrants awaiting court dates into the City of Del Rio. If you do send these individuals into our community, we will be forced to make a decision to leave them without resources under these dire circumstances.
The video shows flooding and empty store shelves in Del Rio as a result of the storm. The town had limited power stability and was shipping patients on oxygen and dialysis out of the city. The churches and community centers were trying to provide citizens with food and shelter, and Lozano begged that the Biden administration send no illegal immigrants with undetermined COVID-19 status. Many of his vulnerable residents resorted to living in shelters due to power outages, the very shelters that would house illegal migrants.
Still, the flow of illegal immigrants into Del Rio continued unabated. In an interview with Glenn Beck on Tuesday, Lozano said he was given an estimate in February by the chief officer for his border sector that Del Rio will receive 35,000 illegal immigrants in the next 3-4 weeks. The city has 36,000 residents in a county of 56,000. These are not unaccompanied minors, and the border crossers get transported to a processing center in Del Rio. They are not evading Border Patrol and finding their way there.
Lozano said additional illegal immigrants get dropped off in Eagle Pass, Texas, and surrounding towns. The last seven-day average for detention in the sector was 700 per day. Beck noted that Lozano has a nearly equal number of illegal immigrants and residents within the City of Del Rio and asked what it was doing to the community. Lozano responded:
That is exactly the biggest question that I have. Where’s the funding? How am I supposed to fund an influx of the population of Del Rio with the budget of only what we have. Our taxpaying citizens are only 35,000 individuals which is about 11,000 roughly, households that we can tax property, you know? It’s just mind-boggling the statistics and what’s happening. And yet the administration continues to just, you know, ignore the problem and not acknowledge the fact it’s an actual, an absolute humanitarian crisis.
Lozano acknowledged that every illegal migrant has a unique story and a particular circumstance and he said he is not seeking to demonize them. He said Border Patrol is doing their best, but they follow the directives of DHS under Secretary Mayorkas and there is no plan for them to follow. Lozano also asserted that lives are being lost on both sides of the border and agreed with Beck that the problem was the Biden administration dismantling what they perceived as inhumane under Trump, with nothing to put in its place.
The mayor noted that visa-holding Mexican nationals are not allowed to visit their family in the U.S. or shop in stores on this side of the border because of COVID-19 restrictions through at least April 21. Yet, there is a nearly unrestricted flow of unlawful entry. Lozano said the Biden administration must secure the border now, and businesses need to be open to cross-border traffic so his community can recover. He added that the Texas state government had reached out and tried to help with COVID testing and other items. Still, Lozano insists this is not a state or local issue; it is a federal issue. He believes the federal government needs to send more people and resources. He added that this is a security issue for his residents:
We’re a safe small, sleepy town, you know? We know each other. We say hi to each other at the grocery store and things like that. Now I have concerns. I have small business owners like a photographer, she’s trying to conduct business at the creek at our city park. And she’s fearful that she’s going to be robbed because she has migrants coming up to her and asking her for money and for food. How secure is that? I have a duty to protect my community and I have the transient population coming through our municipal areas and parks. It’s not safe.
So, if the City of Del Rio and its mayor are dealing with this traffic through town every day, how many single adults and families really get turned around at the border? Up to 150 illegal migrants a day are transported to Mayor Lozano’s city, which is a fraction of the number transported to neighboring towns. Del Rio’s experience does not match President Biden’s statements or Secretary Mayorkas’s proclamation. Mayor Lozano is the second Democrat, after Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who is attempting to pressure the Biden administration to be transparent.
WATCH the full interview with Mayor Bruno Lozano: