Democratic border-town mayor: Biden admin handling of crisis ‘a slap in the face’

Democratic border-town mayor: Biden admin handling of crisis ‘a slap in the face’

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas — He’s putting people over his party.

The Democratic mayor of a southern border town says he’s incensed over the Biden administration’s handling of the immigration crisis in his backyard — and he’s “pleading” with Washington to do more to stem the stream of migrants pouring into his small city. 

“You have a breach on national security levels that have never before been seen in modern history and you’re not even batting an eye about it, you’re not even calling it a ‘crisis‘, you’re calling it a quote unquote challenge,” Mayor Bruno Lozano, a Democrat who represents Del Rio, Texas, told The Post on Sunday.

“It’s a slap in the face.” 

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Lozano, 38, represents the small locale of just over 35,000 residents and has been trying to get President Biden’s attention since February.

Just before a historic winter storm that left millions without power and killed 57 hit the state, he sent the president a video asking him not to send migrants to the community because he didn’t have the resources necessary. 

“Mr. President my name is Bruno Lozano, mayor of the city of Del Rio, Texas, and I am pleading and requesting with you to please put a halt to any measures regarding the release of immigrants awaiting court dates into the city of Del Rio and surrounding areas,” Lozano says as footage of empty store shelves and grocery store lines plays in the background. 

“We do not have the resources available to house and accommodate these migrants within our community… If you do send these individuals into our community, we will be forced to make a decision to leave them without resources under these dire circumstances. I’m asking to please stop, please make another plan for this federal issue.” 

Despite best efforts, Lozano said the request “fell on deaf ears” and over a month later, the only thing that’s changed is the number of migrants streaming into his small community, which is currently around 150 a day. 

“I’m not trying to demonize the humanitarian aspect by any means but my responsibility is to the city of Del Rio and the residents of Del Rio, Texas, my responsibilities are to the American people that got me elected,” Lozano explained. 

“Nobody wants to actually tackle the issue, you’re condoning unlawful behavior, period. There’s a lawful way to enter the United States, there’s a lawful way to seek asylum and it just undermines the entire immigration process.” 

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The scrappy leader, the youngest mayor ever to be elected in the city, is furious he has to use local budget dollars for an issue he calls a federal problem that’s been dumped in the laps of small communities all along the border. 

“It’s not even in our budget. Every line item is accounted for in municipal government, we’re very fine tuned in budget. It’s not appropriate,” Lozano seethed. 

“It just blows my mind how disconnected from reality [they are] or maybe they do know, maybe they just don’t want to call a spade a spade, you know, because it’s uncomfortable.” 

During the last surge in 2019, Lozano said migrants were being dumped by US Border patrol at a 7-11 convenience store and, while a respite center has since opened in the town, the city is still responsible for the migrants once they’re dropped off. 

Lozano said each day, migrants are brought to the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition where they have access to services, before boarding flights and buses out of town. But sometimes, they can’t get tickets and the town needs to find a place for them to sleep. 

“That’s when the logistical nightmare begins, where are they going to sleep for the night? That’s the number I worry about each day,” Lozano said, adding he uses a basketball court as a makeshift shelter. 

“Sometimes migrants get released after hours and there’s simply nowhere to put them. I can’t use the civic center because I’m using that for COVID vaccines.” 

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Earlier this month, two different groups of migrants breached the city’s port of entry foot bridge from Mexico.

Lozano says the influx is a side effect of Biden’s relaxed immigration policies. 

“It is very selective on who they deport now and let’s be real, the Biden administration sent that message that you know ‘we’re going to reverse this, we’re going to do that’ and sure enough within days, within days, it started happening again.” 

“It was completely predictable,” Lozano added — but when he tries to explain what’s happening on the ground to senators, he said “they’re shocked.” 

“You have this policy where unlawful entry is being condoned, criminal activity is being condoned, these migrants are using the cartels to traverse Mexico and that’s a fact and organized criminal activity is rising because of that,” Lozano said. 

“I’m calling them out, I’m so frustrated as a border town mayor about all of this.”

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