Immigrants Who Escaped The Texas Crackdown Feel Trapped In Mexico

Fernando Llano / AP

The Haitian immigrant crossed the Rio Grande to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.

The 35-year-old man tried out a choice: return to the US, where he could be repatriated to Haiti, or stay in Mexico while authorities shut down him and other foreigners.

Wood, who declined to give his full name for fear of reprisals from the US or Mexico for speaking out, said he had no plans but had to make one if he wanted to take care of his wife and two daughters.

“I want to live here in Mexico, but I’m scared because I don’t have permission to stay here,” Wood told BuzzFeed News. “But the US can kick us out. I don’t know what to do.”

Like hundreds of people who fled the camp in Del Rio, Texas, this week to avoid deportation to Haiti, the walls are closing along the Mexican border. Immigration agents, followed by armed soldiers and police, carried out day and night raids on the streets of Ciudad Acuña, where they have been detaining and deporting migrants to southern Mexico. For days, migrants have been returning and crossing the rugged Rio Grande, moving every side of the border looking friendly.

Early Thursday morning, Mexican workers entered the camp with local police and the National Guard. Immigrants, many of them Haitians living in a park in Ciudad Acuña, suddenly woke up. The presence of Mexican officials was enough to intimidate some into returning to the US border, a place that had been abandoned when the Biden government began deporting hundreds of immigrants to Haiti. No one was locked in the park, but the threat was imminent.

The Biden government has relocated thousands of people from Del Rio to other border areas, either to enter the country or to be deported. It relies heavily on Article 42, which cites the epidemic as allowing border officials to evacuate asylum seekers, to evacuate the camp in Del Rio for thousands of Haitians. In just a few days, the United States flew about 2,000 migrants to Haiti. On Friday, more planes are expected to land in the country, which has been hit hard by the quake and assassination of the President.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Pupils gather before the start of classes at Sante Bernadette School inside Fort Dimanche, a former prison, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Sept. 23, 2021. rebuilt after the mid-August earthquake.

On Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said the camp under Del Rio International Bridge had been evacuated and that no one had moved there. As of Sept. 9, about 30,000 people have met in Del Rio, Mayorkas said. Another 8,000 have returned voluntarily to Mexico, and another 5,000 are awaiting deportation, which means they have been deported or allowed to remain in the country.

Mayorkas added that more than 12,000 immigrants to the US will be prosecuted.

He further added that the application of Chapter 42 was important because of the epidemic and that it was not a law for immigrants. He added that the process allows for diversity.

On Thursday, a Mexican immigration official who had just given BuzzFeed News his last name, Rodriguez, said they, along with National Guard and local police, arrived at a park in Ciudad Acuña early in the morning and threatened to evacuate because of US insurgency. in Del Rio, and was concerned that people were drowning in an attempt to return to Mexico.

But their presence at dawn disturbed some immigrants who had crossed the Rio Grande River back to Del Rio, Texas. Mexican authorities soon blocked their route, cutting off the yellow line that foreigners were using to cross the river.

Although many Haitians left their homes for Brazil or Chile later 7.2 magnitude earthquake, immigration policies have been severely restricted in the last five years, according to 2021. reports on the migration of Haitian women. The report, published by the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, states that the ban pushed many Haitians to Mexico.

Jose Torres / Reuters

Refugees from Central America, Haiti, and Cuba stand outside the Mexico Commission for Refugee Assistance to register their flight status to Mexico.

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

“If you are going to the streets of Haiti, you must pray for your return,” he said.

Wood moved to Chile with his family, where he struggled to make ends meet – but without a legal license there, it was difficult to find a well-paying job.

They have decided to return to Chile, but that means passing through Darién Gap, a UNICEF jungle he explains as one of the most dangerous methods in the world. It was a major part of the US-Mexico border crossing, Wood said, adding that terrorists are brutally robbing immigrants and raping women in the region.

“It’s something you cross over once in your life, not twice,” he said.

Standing in the camp Wood slept with his family, Rodriguez, an immigration and evacuation officer, said authorities had set up accommodation in Ciudad Acuña for those who wanted to leave the park they had built. Referral work to the Mexico Commission for Refugee Assistance, but may be required to do so in the city of Tapachula in the southern state of Chiapas in Mexico.

But Tapachula is a prison city for refugees who do not have government documents or work permits. If they try to leave without paying thousands of dollars for smugglers, they have to fight the National Guard. There have also been years of violent conflict between refugees trying to leave with Mexican authorities, under duress by US officials, who are trying to keep them out of the north. Last month, Mexican officials defendant the “inappropriate behavior” of their employees after a violent confrontation with refugees in Tapachula.

Jose Torres / Reuters

Mexican police have arrested a member of a group of refugees and asylum seekers who were waiting to arrive in Mexico City to obtain travel documents. Immigrants were tired of waiting for their documents in Tapachula.

When Rodriguez told a group of refugees to return to Tapachula if they wanted to finish their refugee work, they all sighed and protested, knowing what awaited them there.

Diana, 30, from Colombia, said she had sold water in Tapachula to try to repay her rent for about $ 200, but it was difficult. Waiting to complete the evacuation process takes months, and during that time they have to find a way to earn money without a work permit, he said.

“How do you expect us to survive?” Diana asked Rodriguez. “We have nothing, and then we try to leave and the National Guard beats us.”

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