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Immigration

Mexican authorities clear migrant camp of more than 2,000 near border

The camp was formed in the border city of Reynosa in March 2021

Migrant camp
Migrant camp | Vic Hinterlang

May 4, 2022 10:05pm

Updated: May 5, 2022 1:18pm

Mexican authorities cleared overnight an immigrant camp with more than 2,000 people in the city of Reynosa, Mexico’s Migration Institute (INM) announced on Tuesday. 

The camp was formed in the border city of Reynosa in March 2021. Migrants set up tents and carps in a public plaza across the U.S. border from McAllen, Texas, and a block away from the international bridge, reported Reuters. 

“We were able to dismantle this plaza which is emblematic and important for Reynosa residents and for our visitors from the Valley who see this upon first crossing through the international bridge,” Carlos Víctor Peña Ortiz, Reynosa’s mayor, told reporters.

Most of the undocumented migrants came from El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras, claiming that they were fleeing violence and persecution in their native countries. 

The migrants were transferred to a shelter nearby by the local police and National Guard at around 11 p.m., authorities added. Images shared by the INM show the migrants walking in a line carrying backpacks, suitcases, and other belongings as the police led them away. 

“When you are asked to leave and people have machine guns that’s not really asking,” said Felicia Rangel-Samponaro, founder and co-director of the Sidewalk School for Children Asylum Seekers, criticizing the treatment of the migrants by local police. 

“Showing up with the military and local police with their lights on in the middle of the night was not a good option,” said Alma Ruth, who runs Practice Mercy Foundation.

The migrants, including families with children, spent months living in the plaza, waiting for the U.S. to grant them asylum status. 

"I want to enter legally," said Aile Rodriguez, who had been in the camp with her three children since August. "That's why we've suffered here for seven months."

Many of the migrants at the camp are hopeful that they will be able to enter the United States after President Joe Biden pledged to reserve the Title 42 policy on May 23, which allowed officers at the border to turn away immigrants under the premise of the pandemic.