ROMA, Texas — It was another busy night on the Rio Grande as smugglers continued to bring over illegal immigrants in rafts as the surge seems to be unending. One big difference from what the scene looked like earlier in the week was members of the Texas National Guard were stationed on the riverbank to intercept the border crossers.
As if to highlight how many people wanted to cross that night, rafts filled with people were coming across the Rio Grande two at a time instead of one raft per trip. When questioning one of the coyotes about how much easier it is to cross now under the Biden administration, he said it was much easier to smuggle people across because Biden is giving people asylum.
The coyote added things were more difficult for the smugglers when former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump were in office because U.S. boats would patrol the river at all hours of the day and night.
Back out in Roma, TX where more people are being smuggled across the Rio Grande. Big difference from earlier this week is the National Guard and police are here on the riverbank instead of further inland. pic.twitter.com/q6WsYTpXrn— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) July 2, 2021
The Biden administration has tried to blame the recent border crossing surge on poor economic conditions, exacerbated by COVID-19 and hurricanes, and Trump's approach to immigration, despite those factors existing in 2020 and border encounters were not nearly as high as they are now.
One notable group of people who crossed on Thursday were two special needs children. A Border Patrol agent told me in March that in addition to a higher number of minors crossing into the U.S., they had seen an increase in children with special needs making the dangerous trip to the U.S.-Mexico border.
After one trip was completed and the smugglers were on the Mexican side of the river, a large amount of gunfire coming from Ciudad Miguel Alemán, the city across from Roma, could be heard. This spooked the illegal immigrants and the coyotes, evidenced by them turning off their flashlights and going silent for about ten minutes. Once they started to ferry people across the river, one smuggler said they were trying to get everyone over as fast as they could so they could leave the area.
As we were waiting for people to cross the Rio Grande, we heard gunfire coming from in/around Ciudad Miguel Alemán, the city in Mexico across from Roma. pic.twitter.com/Txqpxtx5hy— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) July 2, 2021
The Northeast Cartel and the Gulf Cartel have been fighting for control of Miguel Alemán, though it is unclear at press time if Thursday's gunfire was between the two groups or if it was a confrontation between one of the cartels and Mexican law enforcement.