All Haitian migrants who gathered on both sides of the US-Mexico border have left their makeshift camps, according to the US government and AFP journalists on the spot.
The last migrants who had been camping for a week in Ciudad Acuña, on the northern border of Mexico, withdrew after failing to return to the United States, AFP observed on Friday evening. They got into vans with their belongings and took them to shelters.
A little earlier, the American Minister of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas had announced, during a press conference at the White House, that “today we have no more migrants in the encampment under the bridge” from the town of Del Rio, Texas, which numbered up to 15,000 people, including many Haitians at the end of last week.
About 2,000 people were deported by plane to Haiti, 8,000 returned voluntarily to Mexico, 5,000 were transferred to accommodation centers and 12,400 were able to leave the site and will have to appear before an immigration judge to defend their claim. asylum, he said.
“Many will be sent back to Haiti,” he added.
Treat the problem at the source
In Ciudad Acuña, on the other hand, the secretary of the municipal council Felipe Basulto assured that migrants in accommodation centers in the city would not be arrested or deported, and that they could move around the city “with confidence” while waiting for their status is fixed.
A few hours earlier, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had declared that he did not want his country to become “a migrant camp”.
“We want the problems to be dealt with at the source,” he added, calling on the United States to invest in the economic development of Central American countries so that their inhabitants are no longer forced to flee poverty.
Inhuman or lax
In total, according to Mr. Mayorkas, 30,000 migrants, mostly Haitians, have arrived since September 9 in the small border town of Texas, where they lived in the heat and in unsanitary conditions after crossing the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña. .
This massive influx of migrants and the treatment suffered by some, repulsed by border police officers on horseback as they crossed the river, drew an avalanche of criticism from the Biden administration, deemed inhuman by the left and lax. from the right.
In a snapshot taken Sunday by an AFP photographer, a border guard on horseback grabs a man by his t-shirt on the American shore. On another, he keeps a group at bay by turning his reins, in a threatening posture, to force them to turn back.
These pictures, which have been around the world, have caused a stir in the United States.
Some saw migrants there equated to cattle, others recalled the mistreatment of African Americans by mounted police, prison guards or slave owners.
Joe Biden, who had not yet spoken in public on the subject, promised Friday that these agents would “pay” for these “scandalous” acts.
US authorities have already opened an investigation and temporarily suspended mounted border police operations around Del Rio.
Asked if he took responsibility for the “chaos” at the border, Joe Biden replied Friday: “Of course I take responsibility. I am the president. It was horrible (…) to see people treated in this way ”.
“It’s embarrassing,” he said before recovering. “It’s more than embarrassing. It’s dangerous. It’s bad. It sends the wrong message to the world, the wrong message to us ”.
“It’s not who we are,” said the Democrat, who had promised during his campaign to treat immigration issues humanely, to distinguish himself from a Donald Trump who swore only by repression and construction of a wall on the border.
The Democratic left wing denounces the expulsion of Haitians to a country plunged into a political, security and humanitarian crisis, while the right criticizes the laxity of the authorities which, according to it, causes a call for air at the southern border.