10,000 migrants camp out at southern U.S. border
Near the Texas town of Del Rio, more than 10,000 migrants are holding out under a bridge on the U.S. border. At the beginning of the week, there were still about 2,000 who had crossed the Rio Grande border river to Mexico, the city's mayor, Bruno Lozano, said Friday. He assumed that thousands more would come. According to the report, the majority of the people are from Haiti.Lozano declared a state of emergency and closed the bridge. He said there was a threat of a humanitarian catastrophe. "There are women giving birth, people fainting because of the temperature, they're a little aggressive, and that's normal after all these days in the heat," the mayor told The Texas Tribune.The Border Patrol said it had increased its staff to handle the situation in a "safe, humane and orderly manner." Officials had distributed drinking water, towels and portable toilets to the migrants, he said.
The dramatic situation in Del Rio is putting pressure on President Joe Biden's administration. Due to health regulations enacted at the beginning of the Corona pandemic, Border Patrol agents are not accepting applications for right to stay in most cases. The vast majority of migrants arriving at the border are turned away.
On Thursday, however, a federal judge ordered authorities to stop sending families back without further ado. This could significantly complicate the authorities' approach. The government appealed the decision on Friday.The opposition has accused President Biden for months of creating a "migration crisis" by easing the tough border security measures of his predecessor Donald Trump. Since Biden took office, authorities have recorded the arrivals of more than 1.3 million migrants at the border with Mexico, the most in 20 years.Biden had announced when he took office in January that he would take a more humanitarian course than his Republican predecessor Trump on immigration policy.Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has announced plans to resume construction of a border wall - one of Trump's key projects - that was halted by Biden. The Wall Street Journal, citing a U.S. government official, reported that U.S. authorities were planning to fly the Haitians back to their homeland.
The situation in Del Rio offers new arguments to Republicans. Senator Ted Cruz denounced "a disaster caused by Joe Biden" after his visit to the site. He attributed the situation to the president's decision to suspend deportation flights to the volatile country in the wake of the assassination of the Haitian president.Two dozen buses carrying Haitians arrived in Ciudad Acuña on Friday alone, according to two employees of the bus station. Reuters reporters saw dozens of migrants with packed backpacks, water flasks and folders of travel documents.Most of those approached by Reuters said they were not coming directly from Haiti but had made a long journey through Latin America. Many voted the way via the short message service WhatsApp.
Photo by Barbara Zandoval