FAA BANS DRONE FLIGHTS SHOWING 10K MIGRANTS LIVING UNDER TEXAS BRIDGE

From WWW.DAILYMAIL.CO.UK

The Biden administration has been accused of trying to cover up the extent of the migrant crisis after the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) issued a flight ban over the US-Mexico border to stop drones capturing footage of the more than 10,000 people living camped out under a bridge.

The FAA implemented a two-week flight ban over the Del Rio Port of Entry and the International Bridge in the city of Del Rio, Texas, Thursday night, claiming the move was for ‘special security reasons’ to prevent ‘drones interfering with law enforcement flights on the border.’

The ban effectively grounded a Fox News drone hours after the network released shocking footage showing thousands of migrants living in squalor under the bridge as they crossed the US’s southern border and waited to be processed by Border Patrol.

More than 10,000 mostly Haitian migrants have gathered there in recent days, in a temporary camp which has have ballooned since Joe Biden halted deportation flights back to Haiti.

The president canceled deportation flights of migrants to Haiti on September 8 and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended temporary protected status (TPS) to Haitian nationals while the country is rocked by its biggest crises since the 2010 earthquake.

Under TPS, foreign nationals cannot be deported back to countries hit by natural or manmade disasters, enabling Haitians to live in the US without legal status.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz said that, in the space of just eight days, the population at the camp has surged from 700 on September 8 to 10,503 on September 16.

The number of people crossing the southern border from Mexico into the US has surged in recent months to record numbers not seen in two decades, after Biden overturned some of Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies.

In July, the numbers reached a 20-year high with more than 200,000 people crossing into the US from Mexico while another 195,000 migrants were detained last month.

Border Patrol is struggling to process the sheer volume, as around 60,000 Afghans also expected to be resettled in America after the US pulled all troops out of the country in August.

Now, thousands more are now fleeing to the US from Haiti after the Caribbean nation plunged into turmoil this summer with the assassination of its president followed by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in August, which killed more than 2,200 people and destroyed 100,000 homes.

Others have traveled from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, with many paying human smugglers to help them make the perilous journey across the Rio Grande River.

After reaching Texas, conditions in the Del Rio camp aren’t much better, with food and clean water in short supply and dangerously high temperatures.

According to the top Border Patrol union official in the Del Rio Sector Jon Anfinsen, there are only 20 portable toilets at the site, reported the Washington Post, while many migrants are crossing back into Mexico to get access to basic supplies.

There are also fears the squalid, cramped conditions will serve as a breeding ground for COVID-19.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it is increasing its manpower to the Del Rio area to try to speed up the processing of migrants camped out under the bridge, which connnects Del Rio in Texas to Mexico’s Ciudad Acuña.

The agency said in a statement that ‘the shaded area underneath Del Rio International Bridge is serving as a temporary staging site while migrants wait to be taken into USBP custody.’

Cruz blasted Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris – who was tasked by the president with tackling the migrant crisis – on Fox Thursday night, saying he had ‘never seen anything like’ the FAA ban and he accused the White House of trying to stop the public seeing the truth of the crisis.

‘The drone footage started this morning, and people across the country were horrified, and I guess the political operatives at the Biden White House saw that and decided the last thing they want is Fox News actually reporting on what’s happening down here,’ he said.

Fox’s Sean Hannity said the ban – which stops it and any other network from capturing aerial footage – is an attempt to ‘cover up for Biden’s failures.’

The FAA ‘is trying to prevent Fox’s drone from showing you the American people the truth and capturing images just like this,’ he said.

‘In other words, the FAA is being used to cover up for Biden’s failures. And we are going to let that stand? I don’t think so.’

The network had been flying drones over the border for the last seven months without issue, according to Fox News national correspondent Bill Melguin – until the latest damning footage of the crisis emerged.

The FAA released a statement Thursday denying there is any a political motive to the grounding of flights and said the media can request permission for flights.

‘The Border Patrol requested the temporary flight restriction due to drones interfering with law enforcement flights on the border,’ it said.

‘As with any temporary flight restriction, media is able to call the FAA to make requests to operate in the area.’

DailyMail.com has reached out to the FAA to ask for specific examples where drones have interfered with law enforcement flights, thus creating the need for the ban.

Republican Senator Cruz – one of Biden’s fiercest critics – shared new footage of the Del Rio bridge from the ground and claimed the ‘mass of humanity’ living there had doubled overnight from around 4,000 Wednesday morning to over 10,000 Thursday night.

‘This is a man-made crisis. Eight days ago, on September 8, under that same bridge, there were between 700 and 1,000 people,’ he said.

‘That was what was coming a day — about 1,000, sometimes 1,100 — but it would range between 700 and 1,100.’

‘Right now, as we’re speaking, there are 10,503 people under that bridge. It is packed in as a mass of humanity,’ he told Sean Hannity.

‘The scope of it, until you see it… it just goes on and on and on. Infants, little children, people struggling enormously.’

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