Two senior officials within the Department of Homeland Security stressed that the camp, underneath the Del Rio-Acuna International Bridge, is creating bad "optics" and drawing renewed scrutiny to the administration's inability to curb illegal immigration. At one point, more than 15,000 people were in the camp, though the number dwindled to less than a third of that by Thursday.
“They want those people out from under that bridge so they can’t be seen anymore," the first official stated. "It’s an optics thing. They are moving them around for process and release. They’re going to have everyone at the bridge gone in the next two days.”
As of Thursday morning, fewer than 4,000 noncitizens remained under the bridge. Roughly 3,000 to 5,000 of the 15,000 have been deported or are expected to be expelled. The remaining 10,000 to 12,000 people will be released into the country and permitted to travel nationwide, according to two top officials at different DHS agencies that handle border and immigration matters.
The sudden push to get everyone out of the squalid living conditions is only happening now due to orders from the West Wing. Federal authorities learned this week of a Black Lives Matter protest scheduled to take place near the bridge this weekend and moved quickly to avoid a more chaotic scene.
"They don’t want them all riled up [at the time of the protest],” the official noted, adding that most are being sent to San Antonio, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Del Rio.
A second person who also shared operational information on the condition of anonymity wrote in an email Thursday that the “White House wants all cleared out by Friday evening.”
“Most will be at other holding facilities in other sectors. They are basically just moving the bridge to other areas. It’s all about optics,” the second official wrote. “It’s getting hard to move them because they are getting aggressive.”
Border Patrol agents are in the process of interviewing and providing release documents to migrants at a rate of 15 minutes per person.
Most of the migrants being moved to San Antonio will most likely be released onto the street. Releases into the community have been unfolding for months, community members told the Washington Examiner.
All women who claim to be pregnant will be released and will not be asked to complete a pregnancy test to verify their claims, the first official revealed.
Deportations are limited. Immigration and Customs Enforcement oversees deportation flights, and its 737 jets can hold approximately 180 detainees per flight. The Biden administration has attempted one to three flights daily, with some not taking off due to assaults from passengers against the federal officers on board.
The first official said the challenge for Border Patrol agents who take custody of illegal immigrants and book them into the system is that virtually none have identification documents.