More than 10,000 migrants, mainly Haitians, are being held by US authorities in a makeshift and massive camp under the Del Río international bridge, which connects Ciudad Acuña (Coahuila) with Texas.
The migrants, including Cubans, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans, crossed Mexico in a caravan that managed to avoid immigration controls, and began to enter the United States irregularly on Thursday.
present on the ground have described the settlement as "precarious", and denounced lack of resources, food or people sleeping on the ground with just a blanket.
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The first migrants crossed the border into Texas Thursday morning, some 2,000 people who settled under the Del Rio International Bridge in hopes of getting asylum papers in the United States.
On Thursday afternoon the number grew to 8,200.
This Friday there are already 10,513, as reported by the mayor of the town, Bruno Lozano, who has also urged the US president, Joe Biden, to take action on the matter.
Just under 50,000 residents live in Del Rio, located in Val Verde County. In other words, the camp accounts for the same as 20% of its population. The town can be reached from Mexico through the Rio Grande, through a sector where the water is shallow and you can walk to the other shore. In fact, according to testimonies collected by
The New York Times
, many of the inhabitants of the makeshift settlement cross into Mexico, where food and hygiene products are cheaper, and then return to the American side. In several photos, migrants are seen wading through the river loaded with pallets of water, boxes, supplies of various kinds and even children on their shoulders.
In other images, groups of people rinse their bodies and then rinse off in the river, wash their clothes and, the most fortunate, set up tents between its channel and the bridge. The choice of the place as a point of custody, according to the Border Patrol, is due to the fact that the shady areas under the viaduct are being used to house the migrants, and thus avoid possible heat stroke or sunstroke, since the temperatures are around 38 degrees.
Tony Gonzáles, a Republican congressman, has denounced in an interview with CNN that the situation is "a humanitarian crisis": "It is very hard, there are only a few toilets, the Border Patrol does everything it can, but this goes beyond its control needs to be taken seriously by the Administration ”.
Local authorities have denounced that border agents, who are awaiting reinforcements, are overwhelmed by the situation.
Greg Abott, the governor of Texas for the Republican Party, tried Thursday to close six border points "to prevent migrant caravans from infesting the state," according to Efe
although the measure has been reversed by the Biden Administration.
Abott has criticized the government's decision, and has even gone so far as to compare the situation in Del Rio with the evacuation of US troops from Afghanistan.
Under the pretext of the coronavirus pandemic, former President Donald Trump used a legal subterfuge that allowed to expel "hot" migrants who had entered the country informally, considering that it could constitute a risk to public health. The measure, known as Title 42, expressly prohibited the congregation of irregular migrants in the same space, which would have made the mass camp completely illegal, but this Thursday, a federal judge overturned the controversial rule, arguing that it was “Probably illegal” as well as unnecessary, considering “the wide availability of tests, vaccines and other minimization measures”.
The number of crossings through the southern border of the United States has multiplied this year: of the 458,088 arrests made by different security forces in 2020, it has risen to 1,541,651 in 2021, according to data from the Customs and Protection Office Border.
Washington has reduced deportation flights to Haiti due to the humanitarian crisis that the Caribbean country is experiencing, which in recent months has suffered a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that left more than 2,000 dead and the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moïse, events that increased a situation of pre-existing political and social instability on the island.
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