Matamoros, Mexico, Nov 8 (EFE).- Hundreds of mainly Haitian and Venezuelan migrants were evicted Tuesday from a makeshift camp here near the border with the United States.
The encampment sprang up in 2018, when thousands of Central Americans trying to reach the US set up tents along a stretch of the Rio Grande, which separates Matamoros from Brownsville, Texas.
Authorities shut down that settlement several years ago, but a new contingent of migrants took up residence recently and officials decided to intervene before the population of the camp swelled.
“We experienced a large presence of migrants a few years ago and we detected crimes ranging from (illegal) alcohol sales to prostitution and now we want to avoid those types of offenses,” Matamoros police commissioner Jorge Orizaga told EFE.
The city’s migrant shelters are full and new arrivals often end up sleeping rough in the street.
Tuesday’s operation involved personnel from the INM migration agency, Tamaulipas state police, National Guard and the marines.
“We are against the encampments, we don’t want the encampments because of the irregular situations experienced inside them,” said the president of the organization Ayudandoles a Triunfar (Helping People Succeed), Gladys Cañas Aguilar.
“Unfortunately we are receiving a large flow of migrants and as always, Matamoros is not prepared for a migration of this nature,” the activist said. “We lack everything: shelters, clothes, water, food for them.”
On Tuesday, a Catholic parish just across the border in Brownsville sent 200 meals for migrants under the care of Ayudandoles a Triunfar.
Cañas Aguilar estimates that some 2,000 migrants are currently in Matamoros hoping to obtain asylum in the US.
The region is experiencing a record flow of migrants trying to make their way to the US, whose Customs and Border Protection agency intercepted more than 2.76 million undocumented migrants in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2022.
Between US President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January 2021 and the end of September 2022, more than 3.89 million migrants have been detained at the border, according to figures from the TResearch International consulting firm.
That figure exceeds the total for the equivalent periods of the presidencies of Donald Trump and Barack Obama. EFE