Massive migrant encampment in Del Rio cleared out

The massive migrant encampment in the Texas border town of Del Rio has been completely cleared out. As many as 15,000 migrants, who were mostly from Haiti, had been packed into a squalid tent city beneath a bridge near the Rio Grande this week, hoping to be processed for asylum. 

“As of right now, there are zero persons under the bridge,” Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano said Friday. 

Of the almost 15,000 migrants, at least 2,000 were deported and 5,000 are still being processed and could be expelled, according to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The rest, officials said, were either released into the U.S. under the asylum process or returned to Mexico voluntarily. 

Mayorkas has rejected calls to stop the deportations. “We have in fact determined, despite the tragic and devastating earthquake, that Haiti is in fact capable of receiving individuals,” he said Friday. 

The controversy over border agents on horseback dispersing migrants continued, with President Biden weighing in. “Of course, I take responsibility, I’m president,” he said. “But it was horrible what to see as you saw. To see people treated like they did. Horses nearly running them over. People being strapped. It’s outrageous. I promise you those people will pay.” 

Guerline Jozef, co-founder and executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, said she doesn’t see a difference between the Trump approach and how Mr. Biden is handling the situation.  

“Unfortunately we are seeing the Biden administration continuing the same policies, the same approach, cruel, inhumane, we want different,” said Jozef, who has been working with Haitians at the border. 

Nearly 30,000 migrants have traveled to the area since September 9, Homeland Security officials said Friday. Among those was Fiterson Janvier, who crossed through 11 countries to get to the U.S. Janvier fears being sent back to Haiti.

“There’s no life for them,” Janvier said. “I want to cry when I see people in the news deported. There’s no life for them there. How are they going to live there? There’s no life there.” 

Del Rio’s mayor urged the federal government to do a better job listening to local officials, who he said warned about the looming crisis. At least 10 babies were born while the migrants were in the camp, the mayor said.