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A&M border expert calls for “extensive reform” of U.S. immigration policy

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – Thousands of Haitian migrants assembled under and around a bridge in a small Texas border town as chaos unfolded Friday, presenting the Biden administration with a new challenge as it tries to manage large numbers of asylum-seekers who have been reaching U.S. soil.

Haitians crossed the Rio Grande freely and in a steady stream, going back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico through knee-deep water with some parents carrying small children on their shoulders. Unable to buy supplies in the U.S., they returned briefly to Mexico for food and cardboard to settle, temporarily at least, under or near the bridge in Del Rio, a city of 35,000 that has been severely strained by migrant flows in recent months.

It’s the most recent crisis in a year marked by a number of issues at the border.

First News at Four sat down with Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service immigration expert Aileen Teague to find out why this has been a recurring issue in 2021.

“This is something that local officials have been warning the federal government about for months,” Teague explained. “It’s a federal responsibility.”

She says the Biden administration has been struggling to keep up amid the military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“There’s a lot of immigration problems that the federal system is dealing with right now including the integration of over 60,000 Afghanis here,” Teague said.

She said the federal government is being stretched thin by an avalanche of immigration issues. Teague said the overarching issues with immigration need to be addressed immediately.

“We’re past the period where, at the federal level, even at the state and local level, where officials can be proactive,” Teague said, “there is extensive reform that’s needed.”

Written by Alex Bukoski

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