Thousands of migrants have streamed across the border near Normandy, Texas, in recent weeks, leaving behind discarded trash and clothing in their wake.
Drone footage of a frequent crossing point along the Rio Grande shows piles of discarded items at the end of an eroded walking trail.
Similar scenes can be observed at the border in Eagle Pass and the surrounding area.
While Democrats raised concerns during the Trump administration about the environmental impact of the former president’s border wall, Republicans have recently warned about the long-term impact on the environment of unchecked migration across the border.
Reps. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last year, writing that the “environmental consequences of illegal immigration are well documented.”
“Both of us have personally witnessed scattered trash and damage to our lands during official tours of the southern border,” the lawmakers wrote.
“The trash left behind by illegal migrants includes human waste, backpacks, medical products, plastic, vehicles, and clothing, all of which pose risks to wildlife.”
There were nearly 2.4 million migrant encounters at the southern border in fiscal year 2022, a new record high. The flow of migrants doesn’t appear to be stopping, with at least 205,000 migrant encounters in October, the first month of fiscal year 2023.