Sep 24, 2021By Adrees Latif and Kristina Cooke
DEL RIO, Texas (Reuters) - An impromptu border camp that roiled the U.S. government was cleared of thousands of Haitian migrants by Friday, with most remaining in the United States for now and others expelled on deportation flights or returned to Mexico.
Reuters witnesses said the jumble of makeshift shelters and tents had all but disappeared from Del Rio, Texas, with workers removing the last debris along the border with Mexico. State troopers lined the banks of the Rio Grande to discourage new crossings.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said nearly 30,000 migrants had been encountered in Del Rio in the past two weeks and that by morning there were none left in the camp beneath its international bridge.
Mayorkas vowed a swift probe into "horrifying" images that had sparked outrage this week which showed a border guard on horseback using his reins to contain Haitian migrants.
"We know that those images painfully conjured up the worst elements of our nation's ongoing battle against systemic racism," he told a news conference.
More than 12,000 migrants will have a chance to make their case for protection before U.S. immigration judges, an estimated 8,000 voluntarily returned to Mexico, and 2,000 were expelled to Haiti. The fate of others detained is to be decided.
(Additional reporting by Marco Bello)