U.S. reopening Texas border crossing after clearing out migrant encampment

A U.S-Mexico border crossing in Texas is partially reopening on Saturday, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol announced. The Del Rio Port of Entry had been closed for several days as U.S. officials cleared a nearby migrant encampment that had grown to include nearly 15,000 people, many of them Haitian migrants.

“Following efforts this week by U.S. Border Patrol, Office of Field Operations and DHS partners to expedite processing of the migrant flow to manageable levels and with public safety restored, CBP reopened trade and travel operations at Del Rio Port of Entry,” Saturday’s statement from CBP said.

The border will reopen to passenger and pedestrian traffic Saturday afternoon, followed by commercial cargo traffic on Monday morning, CBP said. 

Mexico US Border Migrants
A bulldozer is seen next to a mound of debris while crews clear an area where migrants were encamped along the Del Rio International Bridge, September 24, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. Julio Cortez/AP

It had been closed since September 17, and traffic was rerouted to Eagle Pass Port of Entry, according to authorities.

Last week, as many as 15,000 migrants, who were mostly from Haiti, were packed into a squalid tent city beneath a bridge near the Rio Grande, hoping to be processed for asylum. However, U.S. officials broke up the encampment and removed all of the migrants. 

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

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. 

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. 

Last migrants depart Texas border camp 03:02