(AP) — No migrants are left at a Texas border encampment, about a week after nearly 15,000 people — most of them Haitians — huddled in makeshift shelters hoping for the chance to seek asylum.
Some will get that chance, while the others will be expelled to their homeland. The Department of Homeland Security planned to continue flights to Haiti throughout the weekend, ignoring criticism from Democratic lawmakers and human rights groups who say Haitian migrants are being sent back to a troubled country that some left more than a decade ago.
Meanwhile, Bruno Lozano, the mayor of Del Rio, Texas, where the camp was located, said officials would search the brush along the Rio Grande to ensure nobody was hiding and finish cleaning the site before reopening the international bridge. He said that would happen Sunday night at the earliest.
Officials also want to be sure no other large groups of migrants are making their way to the Del Rio area who might decide to set up a similar camp, he said.
Lozano said there were no deaths during the time the camp was occupied and that 10 babies were born to migrant mothers, either at the camp or in Del Rio’s hospital.
“It took an urban village at this scale to help prevent any loss of life and actually welcome the births of children here,” said Lozano, who called the relocation of all the migrants “phenomenal.”
The number of migrants peaked last Saturday as migrants driven by confusion over the Biden administration’s policies and misinformation on social media converged at the border crossing connecting Del Rio, Texas, and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.
The U.S. and Mexico worked swiftly, appearing eager to end the humanitarian situation that prompted the resignation of the U.S. special envoy to Haiti and widespread outrage after images emerged of border agents maneuvering their horses to forcibly block and move migrants.
On Friday, President Joe Biden said the way the agents used their horses was “horrible” and that “people will pay” as a result. The agents have been assigned to administrative duties while the administration investigates.
“There will be consequences,” Biden told reporters. “It’s an embarrassment, but it’s beyond an embarrassment — it’s dangerous, it’s wrong, it sends the wrong message around the world and sends the wrong message at home. It’s simply not who we are.”