Updated 12:17 PM ET, Wed September 22, 2021
Thousands of migrants have crowded a makeshift camp under a bridge near the Texas border city of Del Rio.
The surge of migrants at the Del Rio International Bridge was the result of messages, either by word of mouth or social media, that the border at Del Rio was open, US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said. Chaotic scenes at the bridge, including law enforcement officers on horseback using aggressive tactics, have sparked anger in both local and federal officials. Some have called the makeshift camp inhumane.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday that the administration hopes to clear out the camp within the next nine or 10 days. The Biden administration is still relying on a Trump-era border policy, linked to the coronavirus pandemic, that allows border authorities to swiftly remove migrants apprehended at the US-Mexico border. Over recent days, the administration has ramped up those removals and increased the pace of repatriation flights.
The southern border has seen a surge in migration that US government officials say is overwhelming processing facilities. Many migrants say they are fleeing deteriorating conditions in their home countries. A large number of the migrants are from Haiti, which is still reeling from a major earthquake that left more than 2,000 people dead and thousands more injured, as well as from the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July.