Thousands of Haitian migrants living in third world conditions under Texas bridge to seek asylum

Migrants looking for the American dream were instead met with a deteriorating camp of makeshift tents under an overhead bridge between Coahuila, Mexico and Del Rio, Texas (Pictures: Reuters/AP)

Tens of thousands of Haitian migrants have arrived at the US-Mexico border in Texas over the past week, seeking to cross the Rio Grande and find refuge in America.

At one point, more than 14,000 migrants from Haiti sheltered under an overhead bridge between Coahuila, Mexico, and Del Rio, a small town in Texas that has been overrun with refugees in recent months.

That number dropped to 10,000 as of Tuesday, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

In sweltering heat, migrants vying for the American dream were instead met with a deteriorating camp of makeshift tents. Many of the migrants come with families and young children, and must sleep on the ground or flattened cardboard boxes in tents made of discarded clothes and tree branches.

Haitian migrants sleep in makeshift camps at the US-Mexico border in Del Rio, Texas, as they attempt to cross the border into the US (Picture: Getty Images)

Migrants, many from Haiti, are seen at an encampment along the Del Rio International Bridge (Picture: AP)

An aerial photo shows 10-foot-wide piles of garbage from above the camp. At least two women have given birth, including one who tested positive for Covid-19 after being taken to the hospital, AP reported.

Striking videos taken by Al Jazeera and Reuters show DHS agents maneuvering their horses, almost as if herding cattle, to forcibly block and move migrants attempting to cross the border. The footage has circulated the Internet, sparking criticism far and wide.

In one video published by Al Jazeera, a border patrol officer on horseback yells: ‘This is why your country’s shit, because you use your women for this!’ down to a Haitian migrant sheltered with his family.

“This is why your country’s shit, because you use your women for this!” — mounted Border Patrol officer to Haitian migrant he was riding down, as he sheltered with his family.

One of the scenes we saw on the Rio Grande. Watch our video:

Full report:

— John Holman (@johnholman100) September 20, 2021

Another officer’s horse nearly charged into a migrant, who fell backwards into the water, a video published by Reuters shows.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced the Border Patrol will no longer have officers patrol on horses in Del Rio.

Haitian migrants use a dam to cross into and from the United States from Mexico, in Del Rio, Texas (Picture: AP)

United States Border Patrol agents on horseback attempt to stop a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas (Picture: Getty Images)

United States Border Patrol agents watch an area near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio (Picture: Getty Images)

The cramped conditions have also fueled fears of a Covid outbreak, since migrants crossing the border are not required to be vaccinated before entering the US.    

Many migrants are traveling from Central or South America, having left Haiti after the 2010 earthquake shattered the island nation, former Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Neumann told ABC News.

‘For a variety of reasons, perhaps mostly economic – the economy suffered with Covid, we have seen them migrate up over the last few months to our southern border,’ she told ABC.

Between the coronavirus, the political instability that followed the assassination of Haiti’s president in August and an earthquake that same month that left 1,200 people dead, thousands are seeking refuge elsewhere.

A US Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande (Picture: Getty Images)

As US immigration authorities began deporting migrants back to Haiti from Del Rio, thousands more waited in a camp under an international bridge in Del Rio and others crossed the river back into Mexico (Picture: Getty Images)

President Joe Biden faces bipartisan backlash as migrants, mostly from Haiti, attempt to cross the US-Mexico border on the Rio Grande river (Picture: Getty Images)

President Joe Biden is facing bipartisan backlash over the current crisis and its handling by the DHS.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat and ally of the administration, said images of the treatment of the migrants ‘turn your stomach’ and called on Biden to discontinue the ‘hateful and xenophobic’ policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump, AP reported.

Vice President Kamala Harris said the images ‘deeply troubled’ her. The administration faces similar attacks from Republicans, who say Biden isn’t doing enough to deal with what they are calling a ‘crisis’ at the border.

California Congresswoman Maxine Waters called the treatment of Haitian migrants ‘worse than what we witnessed in slavery’.

Homeland Security Chief Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday tweeted that the images ‘horrified’ him, later sharing that the agents involved have been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation.

Thousands of Haitian migrants sleep in makeshift tents at a migrant camp in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing the US-Mexico border (Picture: Getty Images)

As migrant camps grow increasingly more crowded on both sides of the US-Mexico border, US officials began sending some Haitian migrants on flights back to Port-au-Prince (Picture: AP)

Biden has been blamed in part for the flux of migrants because of a proclamation from May that allowed Haitians in US protection status, preventing them from being deported for 18 months due to instability in their home country. It also allows for Haitians to apply for documentation to work in the US.

Amid the deteriorating conditions in migrant camps on both sides of the US-Mexico border, US officials on Wednesday released some of the thousands of Haitian migrants in south Texas, while deporting others on flights to Port-au-Prince.

Some Haitian immigrants deported have bit Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and assaulted pilots on these flights, the Daily Mail reported.

As of Thursday, 12 flights had sent 1,401 people back to Haiti, while 3,206 remained in custody and 5,000 are still camped out underneath the International Bridge in Del Rio. It’s unclear where the other 5,000 who were at the camp have now gone, as some may have turned around at the border.

Haitians deported from the US try to board the same plane in which they were deported, in an attempt to return to the US (Picture: AP)

A line of Texas Department of Safety vehicles form a ‘steel barrior’ on the bank of the Rio Grande near an encampment of migrants, many from Haiti, to prevent them from crossing the border into Texas (Picture: AP)

A ‘steel barricade’ has been formed on the Texas border at the order of Governor Greg Abbott, who called the measure ‘unprecedented’ (Picture: AP)

Those 3,206 Haitian migrants have either been moved to custody under Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or to other sectors of the border to either be expelled or placed into removal proceedings, the Daily Mail reported.

It’s unclear how many of those in CBP custody will be released and how many will be expelled.

The influx of migrants at the US-Mexico border has spurred ‘unprecedented’ measures to prevent more Haitian migrants from entering Texas. Governor Greg Abbot has been forced to create a ‘steel barrier’ of hundreds of vehicles at the border.

The ‘steel barricade’ consists of at least 150 state troopers, with officers reassigned from their day-to-day duties and traveling from as far as 500 miles away to assist Border Patrol agents, according to the Washington Examiner.

Abbot also criticized the Biden administration’s response to the situation at the border, saying Texas would step up and add $2billion toward border security funding, the Washington Post reported.

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US envoy to Haiti resigns over ‘inhumane’ deportations and ‘catastrophic’ political meddling

US Special Envoy to Haiti David Foote has quit his job over the Biden administration’s removal of thousands of illegal Haitian immigrants. Foote also disagreed with the US’ backing of de-facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

“I will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs to daily life,” Foote wrote in his resignation letter on Thursday, first reported by PBS.

SCOOP: Special Envoy for Haiti, Amb Daniel Foote, a career member of foreign service, has RESIGNED. In his letter of resignation, he says he will not be associated with the U.S.’s “inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees.” Letter attached.

— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) September 23, 2021

“Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed, and my policy recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own,” he added, suggesting that the US deliver “immediate assistance” to Haiti’s government, as well as food and medicine to its people.

Around 14,000 Haitian migrants crossed into Texas from Mexico last weekend, setting up camp under the International Bridge in the town of Del Rio. The Biden administration has since started flying these migrants back to Haiti, though some have been apprehended and released into the US with instructions to report to immigration authorities at a later date, as is the administration’s standard procedure with border-crossers.

The precise numbers of those released versus those flown home are unclear, though anonymous officials told the Associated Press that migrants have been released into the US on a “very, very large scale,” despite seven daily deportation flights operating as of Wednesday.

Also on
Opening US borders to illegal migrants amid Covid proves Democrats have no love for America, only for holding onto power

Conservatives have hammered the Biden administration over this ‘Catch and Release’ approach, an Obama-era policy reinstated by Biden in January after it was suspended by former President Donald Trump. However, liberals have also slammed the administration for refusing entry to the Haitians, and for using border guards on horseback to turn them away from the frontier in Del Rio.

Foote is not the only person without a job over the border debacle. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that several of these mounted Border Patrol agents “were placed on administrative leave and will not be interacting with any migrants,” accusing them of “using brutal and inappropriate measures against innocent people.” It is unclear what measures Psaki was referring to, as rumors of these officers whipping migrants went viral in recent days but were subsequently found to be false. 

Meanwhile, a chorus of top Democrats have demanded a halt to the deportations. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and former presidential hopefuls Rep. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Julian Castro are among those asking Biden to stop sending the Haitians back. All three have cited poverty and political upheaval in Haiti as factors behind the flood of migrants into the US. Already among the world’s poorest countries, Haiti recently suffered a devastating earthquake and the assassination of its prime minister, Jovenel Moise.

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Sen. Schumer & other senior Dems urge Biden to stop expelling Haitian refugees, as UN says decision may violate international law

Foote referenced the aftermath of Moise’s assassination in his resignation letter, stating that the US’ backing of current de-facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry was an ill-advised intervention in the country’s affairs. “More negative impacts to Haiti will have calamitous consequences not only in Haiti, but in the US and our neighbors in the hemisphere,” he wrote.

Foote was appointed special envoy to the Caribbean nation in July, following the death of Moise.

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Kristen Stewart perfectly embodies Princess Diana as Spencer trailer teases tense Royal Christmas dinner

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Kristen Stewart has completed her transformation as Princess Diana and we are shook.

The anticipated Spencer trailer was released on Thursday and sees the Twilight actress portray the late Princess of Wales in the Pablo Larrain-directed drama. 

Spencer will depict Diana and Prince Charles’ strained marriage and a particularly tense Christmas at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. 

As the trailer opens, the Queen is heard asking an aide: ‘Is she here yet? Then she’s late,’ before Diana is seen driving towards the Royal estate. 

Preparing herself for the frosty reception, Diana is keen to keep the stay short and says: ‘Three days that’s it.’ 

She’s then told: ‘They’re getting quite serious about you,’ before entering a room of Royals and ordered to ‘stand very still and smile a lot’. 

In one heartfelt scene, Diana is asked by a young Prince Harry: ‘Do you want to be the Queen?’ to which she replies poignantly: ‘I’ll be your mum.’ 

Kristen Stewart appears to have mastered Princess Diana’s grace (Picture: Shoebox Films, YouTube)

Jack Farthing has portrayed Prince Charles (Picture: Shoebox Films, YouTube)

Later, another figure tells the mother-of-two: ‘Diana, they can’t change, you have to change’. 

Charles then tells his wife: ‘You have to be able to do things you hate. There has to be two of you, the real one and the one they take pictures of. Diana, for the good of the country.’

Clearly drained by the pressure of Royal life, Diana settles: ‘There’s no hope for me.’ 

Fans have already heaped praise on Kristen’s performance, with one fan tweeting: ‘Kristen stewart did that and it’s time for y’all to put some RESPECT on her name.’

Reacting to the trailer, another said: ‘The new spencer trailer looks goooorgeous… kristen stewart is magnificent.’

‘Kristen really is coming for that Best Actress Oscar,’ one predicted.

Another weighed in: ‘Kristen Stewart perfectly nails Princess Diana’s iconic accent.’

Kristen recently opened up about what drew her to the role, and told Good Morning America: ‘There are some people that are endowed with an undeniable penetrating energy. 

More: Kristen Stewart

‘I think the really sad thing about her is that she – as normal and sort of casual and disarming her air is immediately – she also felt so isolated and so lonely. 

‘She made everyone else feel accompanied and bolstered by this beautiful sort of light and all she wanted was to just have it back.’ 

Spencer is set to be released on November 5.

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