More than 10,000 migrants, mostly Haitians, camp under a bridge on the southern border of the United States

Tens of thousands of migrants, a majority of them Haitians, camped Friday under a bridge on the southern border of the United States, a humanitarian crisis that places the government of Joe Biden in difficulty.

These migrants 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 stopped by the border guards ”to begin the procedures for authorization to stay, he explained in a video posted on Twitter.

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 newspaper: “There are women who give birth, people who pass out from the temperature, they are a little aggressive and that is normal after all these days in the heat. “

Despite his calls for federal “quick government action”, President Joe Biden and his ministers remain silent.

In a statement, the border guards assured to have 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 pandemic to limit the spread of the virus, they added.

A federal judge, however, ordered the government on Thursday to no longer deport 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.

“Disaster”

More than 1.3 million migrants have been arrested at the border with Mexico since Joe Biden arrived at the White House, a level unprecedented in 20 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 againstimmigration illegal 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 find themselves 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. island of the Antilles.

Nationals from this poor and unstable country still form a minority of arrivals to the United States, but their numbers have been increasing for several months.

“Alarming”

Many Haitians left their country after the 2010 earthquake (which killed more than 200,000 people) and settled in Latin America, especially Brazil. But finding work and renewing a residence permit has become complicated for thousands of them who have headed north.

“I want to continue my journey because I have a sister in Miami and another in the Netherlands,” said Domingue Paul, a 40-year-old Haitian who lived for five years in Chile, recently met by AFP in Tapachula in Mexico.

Sensitive to their difficulties, several Democratic voices were 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 of the left wing of the party. “The lack of eagerness to come to their aid is alarming,” she denounced.

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