Thousands of Cuban Refugees Crossing the Border

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HIDALGO – At least 7,000 Cuban refugees are expected to come to the border in the next coming days.

The activity at the Hidalgo International Bridge continues. For 40 years, Jose Angel Rodriguez has made his living driving a cab.

He said he’s seeing more Cubans crossing the port of entry. “They get here every night, in the morning, and at night they get here. They go to Laredo, too,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez remembered taking a few to a hotel or store. It gets busier each week that passes by.

Down the road from the bridge were a handful of 15-passenger vans. They had Florida license plates. Giovanni Acosta is one of them.

“In Cuba, there’s nothing. There’s no freedom. We came from Cuba because the pressure that we have there,” Giovanni Acosta said.

Acosta said he’s waiting for his wife to come to the bridge so he can take her back to Miami. She’s taking the same track as he once did. “I did the same path, like all the Cubans did. I came from Ecuador. I walked for 27 days on the road,” he said.

Congressman Henry Cuellar’s office said Cuban refugees are coming to Laredo’s Point of Entry every day and the numbers are increasing. They’re coming from Central America through Mexico to the border.

Acosta’s van can take more than just his family. He said he can help the Cuban refugees, but his goal is to pick up his family, to bring them safely back home.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to see if they were prepared for the influx. They released a statement that said in part, "U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is prepared to process the expected increase in Cubans applying for admission at South Texas ports of entry. CBP officers will process Cuban nationals in accordance with established procedures as expeditiously as possible while maintaining requirements and standards for individuals in our care."

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