Vast majority of migrants are Haitian, fleeing Covid and economic collapse in South American countries
Thousands of Haitian migrants have assembled under and around a bridge in a small Texas border town, presenting the Biden administration with a fresh and immediate challenge as it tries to manage large numbers of asylum-seekers who have been reaching U.S. soil, the Associated Press reports.
Images showed Haitians crossing the Rio Grande in huge groups and assembling under a bridge in Del Rio, a city of 35,000 that has been severely strained by migrant flows in recent months.
The vast majority of the estimated 12,000 migrants at the bridge on Friday were Haitian, said Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens, who is the county’s top elected official whose jurisdiction includes Del Rio. Some families have been under the bridge for as long as six days.
Some migrants built cave-like shelters within the reeds along the river, Owens said. Trash piles were 10 feet (3.1 meters) wide and at least two women have given birth, including one who tested positive for COVID-19 after being taken to a hospital, he said.
Haitians have been migrating to the U.S. in large numbers from South America for several years, many of them having left the Caribbean nation after a devastating earthquake in 2010. After jobs dried up from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, many made the dangerous trek by foot, bus and car to the U.S. border, including through the infamous Darien Gap, a Panamanian jungle.
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