The lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas is the focus of a deepening border crisis that has overwhelmed U.S. agents and the nation’s immigration infrastructure. During one five-hour period Wednesday, Washington Post photographer Ricky Carioti witnessed wave after wave of Central American families with children surrendering to Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas. In April, the number of border-crossers taken into U.S. custody topped 100,000 for the second consecutive month. For May, border crossings are on pace to go even higher.
Photos by Ricky Carioti
The Rio Grande Valley is seeing the greatest strain of the current migration surge, but Border Patrol capacity is also overwhelmed in El Paso and Arizona. The Border Patrol has set up tents outside cramped facilities in McAllen, Brownsville and Rio Grande City in South Texas and has started using aircraft to transfer adults out of the area to find facilities to detain and book them. U.S. authorities also are exploring other options for easing the burden on border communities, including sending new arrivals to facilities in other states. Most of the families and children streaming into the Rio Grande Valley will be processed, issued a court date and released from custody.