Sofia Mora and Andrew Clink sat in the back of a pickup truck along the Rio Grande on Monday, handing out bottles of Gatorade to soldiers in 39-degree heat and reveling in their response to the most intense border crisis to face the Joe Biden administration. Helicopters made a ruckus from above. Men in uniform were guarded by assault rifles. Fleets of Humvees were rumbling behind the long border fence. And the plane lifted off from the local airport, carrying thousands of people back to the countries they had fled at great cost, many in disaster-stricken Haiti.
“They should not be allowed in our country,” said Ms Mora, 15, who lives in a small neighborhood near the river. She remembered that a man wearing underwear had beaten her at the door of her house two months ago.
“They do not know the laws; They don’t know our way of life, our culture,” said Mr. Clink, 16. “It’s sad that they’re coming back. But what can you do now? They just can’t let 20,000 people in because there is chaos.”
Not far from where they stood, thousands of people swam and swam across the Rio Grande tirelessly looking for shade from the sun under the Del Rio International Bridge.
US closes part of Texas border, begins sending Haitian refugees home
On Saturday, officials had counted 14,650 people who had gathered near the bridge. But their number is decreasing rapidly. On Sunday, officials airlifted 2,500 people, and promised to evacuate 3,000 more on Monday.
Most are being removed under a pandemic provision known as Title 42, which was first used by the Donald Trump administration to evacuate migrants on public-health grounds. Mr Biden campaigned outside regular channels on promises of more humane treatment of people entering the US.
But his administration has defended the use of Title 42 in court, and officials are detaining more people on the southern border than at any time in the past two decades. On Monday, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Meyercas came to del Río and promised a little tolerance for people gathered around.
“Our borders are not open, and people should not make dangerous travel,” he said, “if you come into the United States illegally, you will be turned back. Your trip will not be successful.”
Authorities prevented journalists from freely going over the bridge where the migrants had gathered. But throughout the day in a thick cloud of dust, buses from the fence of the nearby border, which were being driven away, were visible in the windows.
The migrants in Del Rio have at least two babies born on US soil, said Matthew Mayberry, head pastor of the City Church Del Rio, which has brought more than 12,000 sandwiches to migrants in recent weeks – some some 250 kilometers away. Donations have been made from churches.
On Monday, the State Department said it wants to nearly double its allowance for refugees to 125,000 next year. That’s more than 15,000 a year under Mr Trump.
But refugees are different from asylum seekers in Del Rio, and Mr Biden’s policies have earned criticism from those who expected something different.
“My new nickname for him is treacherous-in-chief,” said Sarah Toole, a writer and podcaster who is on the leadership team of Witness on the Border, an immigration advocacy group.
“I can think of nothing more shameful than the richest country in the world – which poses no threat to our security – and sending them back to one of the poorest, most corrupt, worst countries in our hemisphere.”
Del Rio, a small agricultural hub of 36,000, has become the newest center of the country’s decades-long debate over immigration.
Even those who have dedicated their lives to helping migrants in the city have found themselves torn apart by the sudden arrival of so many. While illegal immigrants have fled the US, those waiting on legal channels have been barred from crossing the border since last year, said Tim Ehlers, director of Faith Mission International, a group founded in 1962 that manages 1,000 people waiting today. Provides rice and beans. Crossing the Border in Ciudad Acua for Legal Entry into the US
Four months ago, Mr Ehlers traveled to Mexico to talk to people who were trying to break into the US “every woman was sexually assaulted,” he said. A mother wept while showing a picture of a son killed on the way. Meanwhile, the smugglers maintain their lucrative business.
However, for Rev. Mayberry, “It’s really hard to know that there are people who have been traveling for years. They’ve sacrificed everything in their country to get here. And they’d be sent back there.” from where they were born. It is difficult to understand.”
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