A line of trucks and campers, cars and vans — from South Dakota and North Carolina, Washington and Pennsylvania — snaked over farm roads on Saturday before gathering on the winter-brown grass of a ranch, steps from the Rio Grande, in the rural community of Quemado, Texas.
The gathering marked the final stop of a days-long journey: a convoy of conservative Americans who drove to the border to demonstrate their frustration, fear and anger over what they saw as a broken immigration system.
The location in Quemado had been chosen for its proximity to the city of Eagle Pass, a flashpoint in the pitched confrontation over border security and immigration between the Biden administration and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas. Other convoys this week reached the border in Yuma, Ariz., and San Ysidro, Calif., all with the goal of spurring tighter controls on migrants crossing the border.
Concerns over potential violence followed the convoys as the federal government and Republican state leaders appeared to be on an increasingly imminent collision course. In December, the federal government recorded 302,000 encounters with unauthorized migrants, the record for a month.
In the end, the rally in Texas — part political protest, part Christian revival — attracted a modest crowd to the ranch, and no outbreaks of violence. Many in attendance were retired and had decided to make the trip almost spontaneously after having heard about it on social media or the local news.