As the wind blows dust through the camp, which was littered with plastic bottles, overflowing garbage bags, families gathered around makeshift shelters that were held up by giant reeds. Some migrants laid on the ground or on plastic paint cans, while others dried their clothes on the bamboo-like carrizocane.
The Department of Homeland Security reported that about 3,000 people remained late on Thursday. The number reached its peak Saturday when migrants fleeing from confusion about the policies of the Biden administration and misinformation via social media arrived at the border crossing to seek asylum.
Recent protections were extended to more than 100,000 Haitians who are already in the U.S., many of whom fled their homeland following the devastating 2010 earthquake. The extension was due to security concerns and unrest in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. It doesn't apply for new arrivals.
Mexico and the United States appeared determined to end the increasingly polarized humanitarian situation at Mexico's border, which prompted Rev. After images of border agents riding their horses to block and move migrants were widely circulated this week, Al Sharpton and UNICEF responded.
Homeland Security reported that nearly 2000 Haitians were expelled by planes on Sunday, under pandemic powers that prevent people from seeking asylum. Around 3,900 people were being held for possible return to Haiti and/or placement in U.S. immigration court proceedings. Others were released to the U.S., with notices to appear at court or to report to immigration authorities. Many have returned to Mexico.
According to a U.S. official who had direct knowledge but was not authorized to speak publicly, authorities expect that the camp will be empty within two days. The official stated that Homeland Security had intended to increase to seven daily flights, but only three and five of the planned flights were made due to problems with contractors and mechanical delays. Six flights were scheduled for Haiti on Friday and six for Saturday, while seven flights were planned to Haiti on Sunday.
Haitians camped in Mexico on Thursday morning awoke to find themselves surrounded by security forces. A helicopter thundered overhead, and there were state police trucks at every thirty feet (9 metres) between their tents, and the Rio Grande.
Many families ran into the river to cross it, but there was only one police car. They decided to try their luck with U.S. authorities after anxious minutes.
Guileme Paterson (36-year-old Haitian woman) appeared confused. Before she could say anything, Guileme Paterson, a 36-year-old Haitian woman, said that it was a difficult time. She then began to cross the street with her husband and four children.
Michou Petion carried her 2-year-old son towards the river, saying "Things have gone badly." Her husband was laden with bags and many pairs of sneakers, which he wore around his neck.
Petion stated that the U.S. was deporting a lot of Haitians, and now she doesn't know if they will allow her to enter or leave.
Officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety allowed journalists to enter the camp, but they prohibited them from speaking to migrants. U.S. officials stated that food, shelter, and medical care were being provided to those who remained.
Sharpton claimed Thursday that he visited the camp and saw "a real catastrophic, human disgrace." Some protesters, some sporting camouflage hats worn by former President Donald Trump, shouted Sharpton's comments.
Sharpton pledged to "continue coming back... and stand by our people and ensure asylum is treated in the right way and in the right manner."
Some Haitians have been allowed to temporarily remain in the U.S. to seek asylum, or to claim another claim to residency. Notices will be issued later to immigration authorities. DHS officials did not specify the exact number, but stated that they were people with "vulnerabilities" meaning they are pregnant, have children, or the U.S. does not have the capacity to detain them, particularly during the pandemic.
Despite Democratic lawmakers' pressure, the government says it will not stop exiling others for public health reasons. However, some claim that migrants are being returned to a country where they fled more than a decade ago.
In March 2020, the Trump administration passed the policy to justify restrictive immigration policies to stop the spread of coronavirus. It has been used by the Biden administration to justify deportation of Haitian migrants.
Late last week, a federal judge ruled that the rule was invalid and gave the government two weeks for it to be stopped. However, the Biden administration appealed.
Officials stated that the U.S. State Department was in discussions with Brazil and Chile about allowing some Haitians to return to their homeland. However, this is complicated by the fact that some of them no longer have legal status.
In the meantime, U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote submitted a resignationprotesting large-scale, "inhumane" expulsions of Haitian migrants.
Foote was first appointed in July. He wrote to Antony Blinken to say he would be stepping down "with deep regret and apologies for those who seek crucial changes."
He wrote that he would not associate himself with the inhumane and counterproductive United States decision to deport thousands Haitian refugees and illegal immigrant to Haiti. This is a country where American officials are kept in secure compounds due to the threat posed to daily life by armed groups. "Our policy approach to Haiti is still deeply flawed. My policy recommendations have been ignored or dismissed.
This career diplomat was well-known for his frustration with Washington's lack of urgency and the glacial pace at which efforts to improve Haitian conditions were made.
Ned Price, spokesperson for the State Department, disputed Foote’s claims, stating that his proposals had been "fully evaluated in a rigorously transparent policy process."
"Some of these proposals were found to be detrimental to our commitment to democracy promotion in Haiti, and were therefore rejected during the policy-making process. Price stated that Price was simply wrong to claim his proposals were ignored.
UNICEF estimates that more than two-thirds of the three Haitian migrants who have fled to Haiti are women and children.
"Haiti is reeling after the triple tragedy of natural catastrophes, gang violence, and the COVID-19 panademic," stated Henrietta Fore (UNICEF's executive Director). She said that those returned without adequate protection "find theirself even more vulnerable to violence poverty and displacement -- factors which drove them to migrate in first place."
Officials from the United States stated that about two-thirds are families, while the rest are single adults.
However, even though the number of Haitian migrants in Del Rio was decreasing, some groups of Cubans continued to walk along a dirt road towards the camp on Thursday.
A Texas officer shouted, "We got migrants!" As three men approached him, one of them said in Spanish, "We're here." We reached the country of liberty.