According to the authorities, 10,500 migrants, the majority of whom are Haitians, find themselves stranded in Del Rio (Texas) on Friday, awaiting arrest by border guards to begin the procedures for authorization to stay. Despite the calls, Joe Biden remains silent in the face of this migration crisis.
About ten thousand migrants , most of them Haitians, camped Friday, September 17 under a bridge on the southern border of the United States . They arrived in Del Rio, Texas, crossing the Rio Grande River.
From less than 2,000 at the start of the week, they are now more than 10,500, according to the mayor of this border town, Bruno Lozano.
They “are mainly from Haiti, (…) they are just waiting to be arrested by the border guards” to begin the procedures for authorization to stay, he explained in a video posted on Twitter.
On Friday, the democratic councilor, who expects thousands more arrivals, declared a state of emergency and closed the bridge to traffic.
“Extreme circumstances call for extreme responses,” he told the Texas Tribune: “There are women who give birth, people who pass out from the temperature, they are a bit aggressive and that is normal after all those days in the heat. “
Despite his calls for federal “swift action”, President Joe Biden and his ministers remain silent.
A decision that complicates returns
In a statement, the border guards assured that they had increased their staff in order to face the situation in a “safe, humane and orderly” manner and to have distributed drinking water, towels and portable toilets to migrants.
Once taken care of, “the vast majority of adults arriving alone and many families will be turned away under a health rule” adopted at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to limit the spread of the virus, they added.
However, a federal judge on Thursday ordered the government not to turn back families in this context, which could complicate the task of the authorities, already faced with historic migratory flows on the border with Mexico. The government appealed the decision on Friday.
A growing migration crisis
More than 1.3 million migrants have been arrested at the border with Mexico since the arrival of Joe Biden at the White House, a level unprecedented in twenty years.
The Republican opposition has accused President Biden for months of causing a “migration crisis” by relaxing the measures of his predecessor Donald Trump, who had made the fight against illegal immigration his hobbyhorse.
The situation in Del Rio offered him new arguments. After going there, Republican Senator Ted Cruz denounced “a disaster caused by Joe Biden”.
According to him, the migrants end up under the bridge “because President Joe Biden made the political decision to cancel the deportation flights to Haiti” after the assassination in July of President Jovenel Moïse which accentuated the chaos on the island of the Antilles.
Several Democratic voices were also raised to ask the administration of Joe Biden to quickly resolve the situation in Del Rio. “These Haitian migrants have already suffered a lot during the dangerous journey to our border,” tweeted Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a figure on the left wing of the party. “The lack of rush to come to their aid is alarming.”
Haitians seeking refuge
Haitian nationals still form a minority of arrivals to the United States, but their numbers have been increasing for several months.
Political turmoil and insecurity was compounded by a deadly earthquake that devastated southwestern Haiti in August , killing more than 2,200 residents. A total of 650,000 people, including 260,000 children and adolescents, continue to need “emergency humanitarian aid”, according to Unicef.
Already in 2010, after an earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people, many Haitians left their country and settled in Latin America, especially Brazil. But finding work and renewing a residence permit became complicated for thousands of them, who headed north.