SAN ANTONIO — The Department of Homeland Security is preparing for what could be an unprecedented surge of migrants as a pandemic-era rule is lifted.
The Biden Administration is expected to end Title 42 in late May.
The public health policy started under the Trump Administration quickly expels migrants and asylum seekers.
Del Rio Sector Border Patrol officials said they’re seeing record numbers of migrants, including large groups of migrants.
Over the weekend, CBP officials said agents encountered over 2,500 hundred migrants in hot spots like Eagle Pass.
Instead of court officer duties, Maverick County Deputy Constable Hal Bowles, has been assigned to patrol the river under the International Bridge 2 near Shelby Park in Eagle Pass.
He said he’s been stationed in the area to assist other local and federal officials as Border Patrol agents have been moved from the field to alleviate overcrowded processing facilities.
“As soon as they process one hundred, a couple hundred more coming right behind them,” said Bowles.
In the last three months since Bowles has been on the job, he was he’s seen a huge surge in migrant crossings.
He said many migrants he’s spoken to aren’t prepared for the dangers of crossing the river.
“It's very treacherous. It's very risky. Some parts are deep, some parts are shallow,” said Bowles. “Just two days ago there was two little girls almost drowned here, right in front of us right here where we're standing.”
Bowles said they’re seeing on average 25 to 50 migrants cross each hour.
Our team saw almost a dozen groups cross, one group carrying five children. A mother from Honduras said it the journey took seven months to get to the U.S.
“This is what we're seeing here every day. It doesn't stop,” said Bowles.
For this father of two, seeing the children, especially those left to make the journey alone, is the hardest.
“Just week, there was two little girls ages eight and 11 who were from Guatemala, and they were terrified,” said Bowles.
CBP officials said over just three days last weekend, agents encountered 71 unaccompanied children.
With the end of Title 42 looming, Bowles said he worries the number of migrants trying to enter the U.S. will surge dramatically.
“They're going to come across and we're going to need more manpower. I mean, we're stretched so thin as it is. I'm one deputy and I'm here in and we're trying our best,” said Bowles.
He said for him it’s not a political issue, but a human one.
“At the end of the day, I take off my uniform and I think, ‘Wow, what did I just go through today?,’” said Bowles. “I'm a veteran. I served in Iraq. And then I'm coming home and I'm seeing this in my backyard, and it hurts.”