Immigrants fleeing crackdown in Texas feel trapped in Mexico

Fernando Rano/Associated Press

A Haitian immigrant waded across the Rio Grande to the city of Acuna, Mexico.

The 35-year-old father weighed his options: return to the United States, where he can be sent back to Haiti, or stay in Mexico because the authorities blocked him and other immigrants.

Wood refused to reveal his full name because of fear of retaliation from the United States or Mexico. He said he had no plans, but if he was to take care of his wife and two daughters, he needed to make a plan.

Wood told BuzzFeed News: “I want to stay in Mexico, but I’m scared because I don’t have permission to be here. But the United States may expel us. I do not know what to do. “

Like the hundreds of migrants who left Camp Del Rio, Texas this week, the fence is approaching them to avoid flying to Haiti, this time from the Mexican side of the border. Immigration agents, accompanied by armed soldiers and police, conducted day and night raids on the streets of Ciudad Acuña, where they have been detaining migrants and transporting them to the southern states of Mexico. For several days, migrants have been shuttled back and forth on the unstable Rio Grande, and it seemed the friendliest to move to any side of the border.

Before dawn on Thursday, a Mexican immigration agent drove into the camp, flanked by the local police and the National Guard. The immigrants, most of them Haitians, had been living in a park in the city of Acunia and were awakened. The presence of the Mexican authorities was enough to scare some of them back to the American side of the border, which they had previously abandoned after the Biden administration began sending hundreds of migrants back to Haiti. No one was detained in the park, but the threat was imminent.

The Biden administration has moved thousands of migrants from the Del Rio area to other areas of the border in order to be processed into the country or deported. It relies heavily on Article 42 policy, which uses the pandemic as a reason for allowing border agents to quickly repatriate asylum-seekers to clear the camps of thousands of Haitians in Del Rio. Within a few days, the United States sent nearly 2,000 immigrants back to Haiti. On Friday, more flights are expected to fly to the country, which has been struggling after the earthquake and the president’s assassination.

Rodrigo Abdul/Associated Press

On September 23, 2021, students gather before class at the Sante Bernadette School in the former prison of Fort Dimanche in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The scarcity indicates how far this country must go to rebuild after the earthquake in mid-August.

On Friday, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, stated that the camp under the Del Rio International Bridge had been cleared and no immigrants remained there. Majorcas said that since September 9th, nearly 30,000 immigrants have been encountered in Del Rio. Another 8,000 people have voluntarily returned to Mexico, and another 5,000 are awaiting processing, which means they are either deported or allowed to stay in the country.

Majorcas added that more than 12,000 immigrants entering the United States will hear their cases.

He insisted that the use of Article 42 is necessary due to the pandemic and that this is not an immigration policy. He also pointed out that the policy allows exceptions.

On Thursday, a Mexican immigration agent who only provided a surname to BuzzFeed News said that they appeared in Ciudad Acuña park with the National Guard and local police before dawn, scaring the immigrants to wake up because the United States is conducting an investigation. In Del Rio’s operation, they feared that people would drown while trying to return to Mexico.

But their appearance in the early morning had an opposite effect on some immigrants who crossed the Rio Grande and returned to Del Rio, Texas. The Mexican authorities quickly blocked their passage and cut the yellow ropes used by the immigrants to cross the river.

Although many Haitians originally left their homeland for Brazil or Chile 7.2 magnitude earthquakeAccording to a report in 2021, the immigration policies of these countries have become stricter in the past five years report The issue of Haitian women’s immigration. The report, issued by the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings School of Law, stated that stricter restrictions have caused many Haitians to travel to Mexico.

Jose Torres/Reuters

Migrants from Central America, Haiti and Cuba lined up outside the Mexican Refugee Assistance Committee to apply for asylum and refugee status in Mexico.

One of them is Wood, whose 12-year-old daughter fainted from dehydration at the Del Rio camp last week.

“If you go to the streets of Haiti, you must pray to come back,” he said.

Wood immigrated to Chile with his family, where he tried to make a living — but without legal status there, it was difficult to find a high-paying job.

He considered returning to Chile, but this meant that he had to cross the Darien Canyon, which is UNICEF describe As one of the most dangerous routes in the world. Wood said this was the most difficult part of the journey to the US-Mexico border, adding that criminals violently rob immigrants and rape women in the area.

“This is something you cross once in your life, not twice,” he said.

Standing in the camp where Wood slept with his family, immigration agent Rodriguez said that the authorities had established a shelter in the city of Acunia for those who wanted to leave the park where they camped. He also said that immigrants can continue their lives. The refugee application process with the Mexican Refugee Assistance Committee, but they need to do so in Tapachula, Chiapas, southern Mexico.

But Tapachula is a prison city suitable for immigrants who do not have documents or work permits to leave the state. If they try to leave without paying the smugglers thousands of dollars, they must contend with the National Guard. Over the years, under pressure from US officials, violent clashes have also occurred between immigrants who tried to leave and the Mexican authorities, who tried to prevent them from moving north.Last month, Mexican officials condemn The “improper” behavior of their agents after the violent clashes between Tapachula and immigrants.

Jose Torres/Reuters

Mexican agents have detained a member of a caravan of immigrants and asylum seekers who hope to reach Mexico City and obtain paperwork that allows them to travel to the country. The immigrants are tired of waiting for documents in Tapachula.

When Rodriguez told a group of immigrants that if they wanted to complete their refugee procedures, they would have to return to Tapachula, they moaned and protested collectively, knowing what awaited them there.

Diana, 30, from Colombia, said she sold water in Tapachula and tried to pay about $200 in rent, but it was difficult. She said it takes several months to wait for the refugee process to be completed, and they must find a way to earn a living without a work permit.

“How do you want us to live?” Diana asked Rodriguez. “We had nothing, and then we tried to leave and the National Guard beat us.”

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