Some have said that the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse make them fearful of returning to a country that seems more unstable than when they left.
“In Haiti, there is no security,” said Fabricio Jean, a 38-year-old Haitian who arrived in Texas with his wife and two daughters. “The country is in a political crisis.
Dozens of people crossed the Rio Grande on Saturday, returning to Mexico to buy water, food and diapers in Ciudad Acuña before returning to the Texas encampment.
Junior Jean, a 32-year-old man from Haiti, watched as people carefully carried crates of water or bags of food through the river water up to their knees. Jean said he has lived on the streets in Chile for the past four years, resigned to looking for food in the trash.
“We are all looking for a better life,” he said.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry wrote on Twitter on Sunday that he was concerned about the conditions in the border camp and that migrants would be welcome back.
“We want to reassure them that measures have already been taken to offer them a better welcome on their return home and that they will not be left behind,” he tweeted. Henry did not provide details on the measurements. A Haitian government spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
Another Haitian political leader asked on Sunday if the nation can handle an influx of returning migrants and said the government should stop the repatriation.
“We have the situation in the south with the earthquake. The economy is a disaster, (and) there are no jobs, ”Election Minister Mathias Pierre said, adding that most Haitians cannot meet their basic needs. “The Prime Minister should negotiate with the US government to stop these deportations at this time of crisis.”
The US Department of Homeland Security said on Saturday it had moved around 2,000 migrants from the camp to other locations on Friday for processing and possible deportation. A statement from the agency also said it would have 400 agents and officers in the area by Monday morning and send more if necessary.
The announcement marked a swift response to the sudden arrival of Haitians in Del Rio, a Texas town of about 35,000 residents about 230 kilometers west of San Antonio. It sits on a relatively remote stretch of border that does not have the capacity to contain and process such a large number of people.