DEL RIO, Texas — Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez walked through the gate of the private property that has a gorgeous view of the Rio Grande but because of the low point in the massive river, the property, and the rest of Del Rio, has a front-row seat to the massive surge in illegal border crossings.
At that crossing point near Ciudad Acuña on Tuesday, around 96 people who said they were from Venezuela made it to the U.S. side of the river. At first, only Texas state troopers were present to intercept the large group. State troopers have been deployed south as part of Operation Lone Star to assist Border Patrol and local law enforcement in heavy traffic areas.
The group consisted of what appeared to be family units, some who had very young infants, along with elderly people. After most of the group made it on land, Border Patrol units showed up to process them.
This large group consists of family units, some who have very young infants. pic.twitter.com/oibbpZFZjl— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) May 25, 2021
Sheriff Martinez made a visit to the private property on Wednesday before the usual time when illegal immigrants cross the river.
"As of right now we haven't received any help from the federal government to put a stop to this. I think that for the time being, we're going to be on our own to figure things out...These individuals are going to keep coming," Martinez explained.
Like many officials and residents who live near the U.S.-Mexico border, Martinez said he would like to see either President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris to visit the border so they can see the crisis firsthand.
"They've been invited. I've invited them through several media outlets several times to come down here and see firsthand, but I don't think that that's at the top of their agenda, it's really not," he said.
Martinez said people who live in other parts of the country need to understand the surge in illegal immigration affects them as well, they do not stay in places like Val Verde County.
"This is the worst I've ever seen it here," Martinez said about the recent illegal foot traffic.
Martinez pointed to how because he only has three or four deputies per shift, the illegal crossings all around Val Verde County puts a strain on his department.
"When I gotta dedicate some of those resources to this, I can't effectively serve our community, you know, for calls of service. It makes an impact," he said.
Martinez explained his jail, along with other county jails, is full with human smugglers who were caught on the American side trying to get illegal immigrants further into the United States.
"When our jail is to capacity, that now is costing our taxpayers to have to maintain those guys till they go through the court process."
A few hours later, another large group crossed the river, this time with the help of a coyote.
Another large group just crossed the Rio Grande. Border Patrol, TX state troopers, and Val Verde County Sheriff is here. pic.twitter.com/30DfZAYuZZ— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) May 26, 2021