Migrants crossing border by hundreds in Eagle Pass, Texas

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(NewsNation) — Hundreds of migrants are crossing the border from Mexico, using the Rio Grande and a system of ropes and human chains to get to the U.S.

NewsNation’s Ali Bradley was live in Eagle Pass, Texas, where migrants were risking their lives crossing a river that is deceptively deep and swift. Several people have already been swept away until they could regain their footing.


While some migrants have made it across, others have not been so lucky. NewsNation witnessed one man who was unconscious and required CPR to resuscitate him.

The Florida Wildlife Commission and the Texas Department of Public Safety are both on scene, warning people not to cross due to the danger. The group includes women and children, with some adults carrying children on their shoulders and other children being pulled across in innertubes.

The large crowd can be seen using ropes to pull people across or forming human chains to keep from being swept away by the current. Once through the river, they face a barrier of concertina wire. Law enforcement is not cutting the wire to let them through, but instead, migrants are being told to walk down the river bank to where the wire ends and Border Patrol will receive them. The walk takes about two hours.

Two men from Venezuela headed for Chicago told NewsNation they know it’s illegal to cross, but they’re trying anyway because it’s their only option.

Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ron Vitello accused the Biden administration of removing controls at the border.

“In the previous administration, effective policy was an agreement with Mexico for the safe third country,” VItello told NewsNation. The policy required those seeking to come to the U.S. to wait in Mexico while waiting for immigration hearings.

Vitello also accused the Biden administration of releasing migrants into the U.S. rather than holding them in custody, contributing to the problem.

Recent data from the Department of Homeland Security indicates the Biden administration has released fewer migrants than the Trump administration as well as expelling a larger share of migrants than the previous administration.

Recently, Texas has seen a reduction in crossings, but last night, the legislature passed a law that would give local law enforcement the ability to arrest people who cross illegally. Those arrested would be given the option to self-deport to Mexico or face a misdemeanor charge and be removed. If they return, it would become a felony charge.

Crossing the border between ports of entry is already illegal under federal law. Legal experts and immigrant rights groups have railed against the Texas bill as a clear conflict with the U.S. government’s authority to regulate immigration.

Some Democrats say the state wants the U.S. Supreme Court’s new conservative majority to revisit a 2012 ruling that struck down key provisions of an Arizona immigration law. At the time, Justice Anthony Kennedy said Arizona may have “understandable frustrations” with immigrants who are in the country illegally but can’t pursue policies that “undermine federal law.”

The bill also sparked rare internal discord among Texas Republicans who have typically operated in lockstep, with state Sen. Brian Birdwell saying the law would usurp powers granted to the federal government.

“For the short-term messaging gain between our two chambers during this election season, we are setting a terrible precedent for the future by invalidating our obedience and faithfulness to our Constitution,” Birdwell said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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