MCALLEN, Texas – Recently nearly 50 migrants rushing barricades at the Pharr International Bridge and assaulting CBP officers in the process. The migrants trying to overtake the officers in the attempt to cross illegally.
Congressman Henry Cuellar has been vocal about the threat of bridge runners and their effect at port of entries. “That is starting to impact our trade and tourism.” says Cuellar. “You have some people that have gone a little desperate and they might be using a taxi or a car or just running across the bridge.”
He adds that bridge runners are causing closures and adversely impacting wait times. The two biggest problem areas are in Rio Grande City and the Pharr International Bridge. This year both have had more than 4,000 migrants attempt to avoid inspection.
“That means our CBP officers are now going to the middle of the bridge and sometimes stopping traffic because you have people trying to get into the middle of the bridge so that they can then claim asylum credible fear and all that.” says Cuellar.
Due to the large influx of migrants using the bridge at night, CBP has been forced to erect temporary barriers during bridge closure times from midnight to 6:00 a.m.
Early Friday morning a group of nearly 50 migrants attempted to rush the barricades ignoring commands to stop. Combative migrants began assaulting the officers by punching and kicking them. A CBP special response team was called in to assist, deploying tear gas and pepper ball to combat the migrants.
CBP officials say a total of 16 individuals were apprehended during the incident. Mexican officials did respond and removed the remaining migrants from the bridge.
Bridge running attempts have happened in several cities along the border. CBP says the Rio Grande Valley has seen the most.