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South Texas port of entry set to reopen as migrant camp cleared

US officials say last remaining migrants departed from Del Rio Friday

The Port of Del Rio has been closed since Sept. 17 after migrants had converged on the temporary camp site under the Del Río-Ciudad Acuña International Bridge. (Photo: Texas Department of Public Safety)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said a South Texas port of entry could reopen as soon as Saturday, after being forced to close because of a migrant surge that disrupted operations.

The Port of Del Rio has been closed since Sept. 17 after migrants had converged on the temporary camp site under the Del Río-Ciudad Acuña International Bridge.

CBP has been diverting both commercial and passenger traffic from Del Rio to the Eagle Pass port of entry, about 57 miles east.

“[Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas] just stated that there are no more migrants under the bridge. It basically means good news for us, which is the reality that the Del Rio bridge will be reopening soon,” Armando Taboada, assistant director of field operations at CBP’s Laredo Field Office, said during a Friday meeting with the trade community.

About 2:30 p.m. Friday, Mayorkas announced that all the migrants had been either removed, deported or placed in immigration processing.

“Today, we have no migrants remaining in the camp under the International Bridge,” Mayorkas said. “Migrants continue to be expelled and under the CDC’s Title 42 authority. Title 42 is a public health authority and not an immigration policy, and it is important to note that Title 42 is applicable, and has been applicable, to all irregular migration.”

The migrants — many of them Haitian — were attempting to gain entry into the U.S. by crossing the border under the bridge that connects Del Rio with Ciudad Acuna in Mexico.

The Port of Del Rio is the 97th-ranked port of entry among the nation’s 450 international gateways, according to WorldCity. However, Del Rio is a major export center of small electric home appliances and parts to Mexico.

Paul Del Rincon, the director of the Port of Eagle Pass, said the additional traffic to his port of entry created extra work for everyone involved.

Del Rincon said the Eagle Pass International Bridge No. 2, which processes commercial cargo regularly, sees an average of 700 commercial trucks daily. This week, they saw as many as 200 additional trucks on certain days.

“If in fact we are nearing the end here, it’s nice to know. It’s been one heck of a ride,” Del Rincon said. “Many extra boxes were checked here at the Port of Eagle Pass and as far as these additional volumes that we saw and that we processed, it was very good.”

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]