A Texas border encampment has no migrants left. This is about one week after almost 15,000 people, most of them Haitians, huddled in makeshift shelters looking for asylum.
While some will get the chance, others will be forced to return home. The Department of Homeland Security plans to continue flights to Haiti through the weekend. This is despite criticism from Democratic lawmakers as well as human rights groups that claim Haitian migrants are being sent home to a country where they have lived for more than a decade.
Bruno Lozano (the mayor of Del Rio in Texas), said that officials would search the Rio Grande for any signs of hiding, and then clean the area before reopening international bridge. He stated that this would take place Sunday night.
He said that officials also want to make sure there are no large numbers of migrants making their way into the Del Rio area and setting up similar camps.
Lozano stated that there were no deaths while the camp was being occupied, and that 10 babies were delivered to migrant mothers either at the camp’s hospital or at Del Rio’s.
Lozano said that it took an urban village of this size to prevent any loss of lives and welcome the births here of children,” Lozano added, calling the relocation of all the migrants “phenomenal.”
Last Saturday saw the highest number of migrants as a result of confusion about the Biden administration’s policies. Misinformation on social media led to a convergence at the border crossing linking Del Rio, Texas and Ciudad Acuna. Mexico.
Mexico and the U.S. worked quickly to resolve the humanitarian crisis that led to the resignation of the U.S. special representative to Haiti. There was widespread outrage following images of border agents riding their horses to forcibly move and block migrants.
Friday’s President Joe Biden stated that the agents’ use of their horses was “horrible”; people will pay for it. The administration is investigating and has assigned the agents administrative duties.
Biden stated that there would be consequences. It’s embarrassing, but it’s more than that. It’s dangerous, wrong, sends the wrong messages around the globe and at home. It is simply not who we are.
Later, Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, spoke cautiously about the ongoing investigation. Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said that Biden was not prejudging the outcome of the investigation or interfering in it, but rather speaking from the heart.
Many migrants are at risk of being expelled because they do not have protections extended recently by the Biden administration to more than 100,000 Haitian migrants who are already in the U.S. citing security concerns as well as social unrest in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. Many were forced from their homeland by the devastating earthquake of 2010.
Mayorkas stated that approximately 2,000 Haitians were expelled on 17 flights between Sunday and Monday, and that more could be expelled under pandemic powers which deny people the right to seek asylum.
Title 42 was enacted by the Trump administration in March 2020. It is intended to justify restrictive immigration policies to stop the spread of coronavirus. It has been used by the Biden administration to justify deportation of Haitian migrants.
Late last week, a federal judge ruled the rule unconstitutional and gave the government two weeks for it to be stopped. However, the Biden administration appealed.
Officials stated that the U.S. State Department was in discussions with Brazil and Chile about allowing some Haitians who have previously lived there to return. However, it is complicated because some of those involved don’t have legal status.
Late Friday, the Mexico office of U.N.’s International Organization for Migration issued a statement saying that it is seeking countries where Haitians are able to reside or where their children can be citizens to allow them to return to Haiti.
The statement stated that “Should migrants wish to return to their homeland and should the concerned states agree, IOM is available to provide its expertise through its Assisted Voluntary Return Program (AVR) to assist these migrants in a safe-informed manner.”
Mayorkas stated that the U.S. allowed approximately 12,400 migrants into the country, at most temporarily. They then made claims to an immigration judge for permission to remain in the country under asylum laws or any other legal reason. They could be refused and subject to removal.
Mayorkas stated that approximately 5,000 people are currently in DHS custody. This is to determine if they will be expelled from the country or allowed to file a claim for legal residency. Some of them returned to Mexico.
According to a U.S. official, six flights were planned to Haiti Friday. Seven flights were planned for Saturday and six on Sunday. However, this was subject to change. The official could not speak publicly.
Around 50 Mexican migrants, mostly single men, were still in Mexico Friday evening at the Ciudad Acuna riverside camp. After Mexican authorities had left the area, dozens of families crossed to Del Rio over night. Others moved to smaller hotels and private homes in Ciudad Acuna.
Luxon, a 31 year-old Haitian immigrant, withheld his last name because he was afraid. He said that he was leaving Mexicali with his wife, son, and about 900 miles west of Mexico’s border with California.
He said, “The alternative was to go somewhere where there aren’t many people and there request documents that be legal in Mexico.”
On Friday, migrants arrived at the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition, Del Rio. Many were smiling and relieved to be allowed into the U.S. Some carried sleeping babies. Wrapped in a silver heat blanket, a toddler walked alongside her mother.
The man, who had driven nearly 1500 miles (2,414 km) from Toledo to meet his friend and his family, wore a neon yellow vest as he quietly scanned the line for Haitian migrants. Dave, who was reluctant to give his last name, didn’t see them.
He said that “I feel like my buddy is worth my time” and explained that he wore a vest so his friend, a nurse he had met on a humanitarian mission to Haiti more than a decade ago, could spot him in the crowd.
Dave said, “I just view it as an opportunity for somebody to serve,” but he is a Trump supporter and hates the politicization of immigration. “We have so many.”