Many Haitians in Texas Border Camp Unwilling to Leave Despite US Deportation Plans
There are at least 14,000 immigrants currently hanging around under the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, US, according to official estimates and the federal government is about to take measures against the crowd of asylum seekers.
As the US federal government works out how to fly thousands of migrants from their temporary camp at Del Rio in Texas, the Haitians living there tell The Guardian that they have no plans to leave for their home country.
“In Haiti, there is no security,” said Fabricio Jean, 38, one of the migrants from the camp, who came to Del Rio with his wife and two children. “The country is in a political crisis.”
A recent earthquake, the killing of President Jovenel Moïse and the subsequent political turmoil are just some of the reasons Haitians are in fear of returning to the motherland, as some of them embarked on a years-long journey to find a better life. Many left Haiti in the wake of a tragic 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and led to enormous depredations.
The US Department of Homeland Security has been astounded by the unprecedented wave of Haitian migrants to Del Rio - the number of arrivals has risen dramatically in the past two weeks. According to the mayor of Del Rio, Bruno Lozano, there were some 14,000 people in the bridge camp as of Saturday.
© REUTERS / GO NAKAMURAMigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. bathe in the Rio Grande river near the International Bridge between Mexico and the U.S., where they are waiting to be processed, in Del Rio, Texas, U.S., September 17, 2021
Migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. bathe in the Rio Grande river near the International Bridge between Mexico and the U.S., where they are waiting to be processed, in Del Rio, Texas, U.S., September 17, 2021
© REUTERS / GO NAKAMURA
Many made their way to the US via the Mexican border but re-entered the country occasionally in a bid to buy water and food. But most of them have returned to the camp and are now determined to seek asylum in the US.
But the migrants are reckoning without the determination of Homeland Security which said that 2,000 migrants were removed from the camp on Friday.
A federal source told The Guardian that the government is planning to fly migrants out from Del Rio on five to eight flights per day beginning Sunday. Another anonymous official added that the plan includes only two flights per day with obligatory COVID-19 tests for visitors.
The US-Mexico border situation has been particularly grave since Joe Biden took office in January, as the new US president cancelled many of his predecessor Donald Trump’s anti-migrant policies and effectively sent a covert signal to the outside world that the US was welcome to arrivals. According to recent data from the US Customs and Border Protection, there were some 208,887 crossings at a south-west land checkpoint in August compared with 50,014 in the same month a year before.