Fires raged and fights broke out on Sunday as Mexican officials tried to disperse a migrant camp of 500 to 800 persons, the majority of whom were Venezuelans, just feet from the US border.
After President Biden declared that limits from the epidemic era would be applied to Venezuelans seeking refuge in the US, the camp opened in the middle of October. In other words, if someone crossed the border illegally, they would be sent back to Mexico.
Venezuelans who had previously left their country and were on their way to the US on foot—often for months—started to set up camp just a few feet from the El Paso border crossing on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, which separates Texas from Mexico.
While waiting for word of a change in policy that would allow them to enter America, migrants stayed in donated tents and some took jobs. At one point, there were approximately 1,000 people living in the camp, including families, women, and kids.
Then, early on Sunday morning, riot police and other Mexican authorities showed up. According to local media, officials said they received a directive to clear the camp. Given the recent cold snap and reports of migrants living in unhygienic conditions and starting fires dangerously near to the combustible shelters they slept under, Mexican officials offered to send the migrants to a shelter in case anyone would freeze to death.
When The Post visited the camp in mid-November, they saw little children using the restroom under a bridge very next to the camp. There were no restrooms or areas where they could wash their hands or take a bath.
Many of the migrants begged to be allowed to stay when Mexican authorities ordered them to depart.
Many people refused to board the buses that Mexican officials had ready to transport them to federal shelters in Mexico.
Previously, migrants in the camp told The Washington Post that they camped less than a football field from the US because they were afraid that if they moved, their struggle and sacrifice would be in vain, and they would lose their chance to enter the US.
Mexican officials started ripping down the tents in spite of the protests, which led to confrontations and small fights. According to the El Paso Times, the migrants protested by setting some tents on fire in the middle of the chaos.
A row of Border Patrol officials stood guard on the US side of the border the entire time, keeping an eye on the situation in case any migrants attempted to cross the river and rush the border. US officials rejected any responsibility for the camp’s removal and forwarded The Post’s inquiries to Mexican authorities.