More than 14,000 migrants, the vast majority of them Haitians seeking asylum and jobs in the U.S., have been camped out in squalid conditions in Del Rio, Texas. Most are fenced in under an international bridge over the Rio Grande that connects that town with Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.
Many had left Haiti over the last decade seeking work in Latin America that dried up during the COVID pandemic, as their home country has been wracked by the worldwide capitalist economic and social crisis, compounded by an earthquake just a month ago that killed and injured thousands. They have been joined by some Cubans, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans. Del Rio, a town of 35,000 people surrounded by ranch lands, is 150 miles west of San Antonio.
Little has been done by U.S. authorities to provide desperately needed clean water, food and portable toilets. Hundreds wade through the knee-high Rio Grande over a concrete spillway back into Mexico to pick up food and supplies and then return.
The response of the Joseph Biden administration has been stepped-up moves to deport thousands back to Haiti, with flights out beginning Sept. 19. The deportations are being carried out before the Haitians have any chance to apply for asylum, based on a COVID-19 order put in place by President Donald Trump that deprives them of any right to do so.
As these flights have gotten underway, growing crowds of men, women and children are crossing back through the Rio Grande to Mexico to avoid being deported to Haiti.