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Haitian migrants leave US border camp

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A makeshift border camp that rocked US politics has been emptied of thousands of Haitian migrants, most remaining in the US for now and others deported by deportation flights or sent back to Mexico.

Reuters witnesses said the jumble of makeshift shelters and slum-like tents had all but disappeared from Del Rio, Texas, as workers cleared the last debris from the banks of the Rio Grande bordering Mexico.

Texas state soldiers lined the bank of the river to discourage further crossings.

US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said nearly 30,000 migrants have been encountered in Del Rio in the past two weeks.

More than 12,000 will have a chance to claim their protection before a US immigration judge, approximately 8,000 have returned voluntarily to Mexico and 2,000 have been deported to Haiti.

The fate of the other detainees must be decided.

Seeking to balance outrage over the weekend’s treatment of migrants by some mounted border guards, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano praised officers for trying to provide food and medical care in difficult circumstances.

“Not having any deaths when we had 15,000 people is a phenomenon, I’m just very grateful,” Lozano said, citing the camp population at its highest.

Mayorkas has promised a speedy investigation into an incident in which mounted guards appeared to be using reins as whips.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has used deportation flights to instability in Haiti while Mexico has sought to transport Haitians by bus and plane to its southern states, far from the US border.

Reuters reported on Friday that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had formally requested Brazil to receive some of the Haitians in the camp, according to two sources familiar with the request.

Many Haitians arriving at the US border had previously lived in Brazil and Chile while others transited through South American countries.

Biden has been the subject of criticism in recent days over deportations to Haiti, including in a harshly worded resignation letter from US special envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote, who said the Caribbean country was a collapsed state.

In May, the US government extended temporary protection against deportation to Haitians in the United States, citing a political crisis, rights violations, crimes and a lack of access to food, water and healthcare. health in the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Since then, the President of Haiti has been assassinated and suffered a destructive earthquake.

Biden’s government has kept the thefts under pressure, aware that letting in more Haitians in will encourage others to try.

At least five more flights taking Haitians from the border camp were scheduled for Friday, flight tracking website FlightAware showed.

Thousands of other Haitians were on the route through Central America, with more of an estimated 16,000 waiting for boats in the jungles of Darien Gap in Panama, a crucial bottleneck on the journey north. .

Haitians who returned to Mexico in recent days were greeted by Mexican officials who urged them to return to Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala to seek asylum in Mexico.

“We are not taking them out of the country,” MNI chief Francisco Garduno told Reuters.

“We take them far from the border so there are no problems with hygiene and overcrowding.”

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