Camp of nearly 15,000 migrants in U.S. Texas border town cleared out
Washington DC (USA) Sep 25: The last remaining migrants, mostly Haitians, on Friday departed a temporary camp under a bridge in Del Rio, a border town in south central U.S. state Texas, according to local media reports.
A CNN team captured images under the Del Rio International Bridge of the final two buses as they departed for U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers just before noon local time on Friday. In the peak time, there were almost 15,000 migrants living under the bridge earlier this month.
The soaring influx of migrants in Del Rio is a result of word-of-mouth or social media posts saying that the border at Del Rio was open, the CNN report quoted U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz as saying previously.
Earlier this week, the Texas authorities sealed off the border in Del Rio by placing "a wall of vehicles" extending for miles as a makeshift barrier along the Rio Grande river bank separating the Texas border town from Ciudad Acuna in Mexico.
According to Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, the state is spending 3 billion U.S. dollars to address border security and will continue moving state law enforcement to "reduce the unprecedented influx of people trying to cross the border."
Local media outlet The El Paso Times reported on Thursday that Mexican State Police also guarded the south bank of the Rio Grande with vehicles spacing out along a path that runs alongside the river.
The White House is facing fierce criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over the issue. Republicans slammed President Joe Biden's administration for "lack of action" on curbing the immigration crisis while Democrats criticized its large-scale deportation of Haitian migrants.
Video footage and images showing mounted U.S. border agents on horse patrol in Del Rio apparently using their reins as whips against migrants circulated earlier this week, stirring public outrage over the "inhumane" hostile treatment.
Biden on Friday called these images "un-American" and "beyond an embarrassment" to the U.S. government, vowing to punish those responsible.
"To see people treated like they did, horses barely running them over and people being strapped. It was outrageous. I promise those people will pay," Biden said in response to a reporter's question at the White House.
A probe within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into border agents' treatment of migrants is currently underway and expected to be concluded next week. The use of horse patrol has already been suspended in Del Rio, DHS officials said on Thursday.
Daniel Foote, the U.S. special envoy to Haiti appointed two months ago, resigned on Thursday over the Biden administration's "inhumane" decision to deport thousands of Haitians attempting to enter the United States.
In his resignation letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Foote, a career diplomat, said the U.S. approach to Haiti "remains deeply flawed."
Many Haitian migrants are being expelled under Title 42, an authority used since the Donald Trump administration to expel migrants during the coronavirus pandemic without allowing them to apply for asylum.
The White House has defended its current policy and insisted the administration is working to implement an "orderly and humane process" at its southern border, according to a The Hill report.
U.S.-Mexico border arrests have reportedly stayed at the highest level in more than two decades, with more than 208,000 registered in August alone.