Fires burned and scuffles broke out as Mexican authorities tried to evacuate a migrant camp of 500 to 800 people, mostly Venezuelans, a few meters from the US border on Sunday.
“You can’t do this to us — there are kids here!” cried a migrant woman during the chaotic scene in Juarez, Mexico, across the border from overrun El Paso, Texas.
The camp began in mid-October after President Biden announced pandemic-era restrictions would apply to Venezuelans seeking asylum in the United States. This meant people were deported from the country to Mexico if they crossed the border illegally.
Venezuelans, who had already fled their homes and typically walked to the US for months, then began camping yards from the intersection in El Paso on the Mexican bank of the Rio Grande — which separates Texas from Mexico.
Migrants lived in donated tents, some taking jobs while awaiting news of a policy change that would allow them to enter America. The camp at times grew to over 1,000 people and included families, women and children.
Then, early Sunday morning, police officers in riot gear arrived with other Mexican authorities. According to local news outlets, officials said they had orders to evacuate the camp. Mexican officials offered to take the migrants to shelter amid fears someone would freeze to death as temperatures dropped in recent weeks, and there were reports of migrants living in unsanitary conditions and fires dangerously close to combustible ones shelters in which they slept.
The Post reported from the camp in mid-November and witnessed small children relieving themselves under a bridge within sight of the camp. There were no toilets or places to wash hands or bathe.
When Mexican authorities told migrants to go, many asked to stay.
“If you knew everything we went through just to get here, you would understand,” said one Venezuelan woman amid the uproar, referring to the arduous journey that most Venezuelan migrants face through the dangerous jungle and various Central American Countries are taking action to reach the US for a chance at a better life.
Many refused to board the buses that Mexican authorities had prepared to take them to Mexican federal shelters.
Migrants at the camp previously told the Post they were camped less than half a football field from the US because they feared leaving that location would jeopardize all of their struggle and sacrifices, and they would lose their chance to get to the US. miss.
Despite pleas, Mexican authorities began tearing down the tents, leading to altercations and minor clashes. Amid the confusion, some migrant tents were set on fire in protest, according to the El Paso Times.
Throughout the ordeal, a number of Border Patrol agents gathered on the US side and watched the scene unfold, ready in case migrants attempted to cross the river and cross the border.
By midday Sunday, most immigrants had fled onto the streets of Juarez, and many said they were afraid to go to the shelter for fear of being deported from Mexico, El Diario de Juarez reported. Another 34 migrants agreed to go to the federal shelter Leona Vicario Integration Center for Migrants.
On Monday morning, Mexican authorities asked remaining Venezuelan migrants who had been staying at a park near the border to leave and again offered to take them to shelter, according to El Diario.
Most are waiting for the end of Title 42, which expires on December 21st. This is the official title of the policy that allows immigrants to be immediately expelled from the United States. The US Border Patrol uses Title 42 to expel approximately 40% of illegal border workers.
Earlier this month, a judge ruled that Title 42 was no longer legal and the Biden administration had until December 21 to stop enforcing it.
Immigration experts have predicted its demise would result in an “avalanche of immigrants” who would cross the border into the US beginning December 21 unless new rules or policies are announced.
https://nypost.com/2022/11/28/mexican-authorities-evict-500-migrants-at-border-camp/ Mexican authorities expel 500 migrants from a border camp