The 35-year-old man tried his choice: return to the US, where he could be repatriated to Haiti, or stay in Mexico when authorities shut down him and other foreigners.
Wood, who declined to give his full name for fear of retaliation from the US or Mexico for speaking out, said he had no plan but had to make one if he wanted to take care of his wife and two daughters.
“I want to live here in Mexico, but I’m scared because I don’t have permission to stay here,” Wood told BuzzFeed News. “But the US can kick us out. I don’t know what to do.”
Like the hundreds of migrants who left the Del Rio, Texas, camp this week to avoid deportation to Haiti, the walls are blocking them, this time from the Mexican border. Immigration agents, followed by armed soldiers and police, carried out day and night raids on the streets of Ciudad Acuña, where they have been detaining and deporting migrants to southern Mexico. For days, refugees have been returning and crossing the rugged Rio Grande, moving every side of the border looking friendly.
Early Thursday morning, Mexican workers entered the camp with local police and the National Guard. The refugees, many of them Haitians living in a park in Ciudad Acuña, suddenly woke up. The presence of Mexican officials was enough to intimidate some into returning to the US border, a place they had left earlier when Biden officials began repatriating hundreds of immigrants to Haiti. No one was locked in the park, but danger was imminent.
The Biden government has relocated thousands of people from the Del Rio region to other border areas, either to enter the country or to be deported. It relied heavily on Article 42, which cites the plague as allowing border officials to evacuate asylum seekers, to evacuate the camp in Del Rio for thousands of Haitians. In just a few days, the United States flew about 2,000 migrants to Haiti. On Friday, more planes are expected to arrive in the country, which has been hit hard by the quake and assassination of the President.
On Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the camp under Del Rio International Bridge had been evacuated and that no one had moved there. As of Sept. 9, about 30,000 people have met in Del Rio, Mayorkas said. Another 8,000 have returned voluntarily to Mexico, and another 5,000 are awaiting deportation, which means they have been deported or allowed to remain in the country.
Mayorkas added that more than 12,000 U.S. immigrants would be tried.
He further added that the application of Article 42 was necessary because of the epidemic and that it was not a law against immigration. He further added that the process allows for diversity.
On Thursday, a Mexican immigration official who had just given BuzzFeed News his last name, Rodriguez, said they, along with National Guard and local police, arrived at a park in Ciudad Acuña early in the morning and threatened to evacuate because the US was plotting. in Del Rio, and was concerned that people were drowning in an attempt to return to Mexico.
But their presence in the morning disturbed some immigrants who had crossed the Rio Grande River back to Del Rio, Texas. Mexican authorities soon blocked their route, cutting off the yellow line that foreigners were using to cross the river.
Although many Haitians left their homes for Brazil or Chile later 7.2 magnitude earthquake, immigration policies have been severely restricted in the last five years, according to 2021. reports on the migration of Haitian mothers. The report, published by the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, states that the ban pushed many Haitians to Mexico.
One of them was Wood, whose 12-year-old daughter fainted from dehydration last week at the Del Rio camp.
“If you go to the streets of Haiti, you have to pray for your return,” he said.
Wood moved to Chile with his family, where he struggled to make ends meet – but without a legal license there, it was difficult to find a well-paying job.
He plans to return to Chile, but that means passing through Darién Gap, a UNICEF jungle forest he explains as one of the most dangerous methods in the world. It was a major part of the US-Mexico border crossing, Wood said, adding that terrorists are brutally robbing immigrants and raping women in the region.
“It’s something you cross over once in your life, not twice,” he said.
Standing in the camp Wood slept with his family, Rodriguez, an immigration and evacuation officer, said authorities had set up accommodation in Ciudad Acuña for those who wanted to leave the park they had built. Refugees at the Mexico Commission for Refugee Assistance, but may need to do so in the city of Tapachula in the southern state of Chiapas in Mexico.
But Tapachula is a prison city for immigrants who do not have government documents or work permits. If they try to leave without paying thousands of dollars for smugglers, they have to fight the National Guard. There have also been years of violent conflict between refugees trying to leave with Mexican authorities, under pressure from US officials, who are trying to keep them out of the north. Last month, Mexican officials defendant the “inappropriate behavior” of their employees after a violent confrontation with refugees in Tapachula.
When Rodriguez asked a group of refugees to return to Tapachula if they wanted to complete their refugee mission, they all sighed and protested, knowing what awaited them there.
Diana, 30, from Colombia, said she had sold water in Tapachula to try to pay her rent for about $ 200, but it was difficult. Waiting to complete a refugee project takes months, and during that time they have to find a way to earn money without a work permit, he said.
“How do you expect us to survive?” Diana asked Rodriguez. “We have nothing, then we try to leave and the National Guard beats us.”