No migrants remain at a former encampment under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas after US authorities cleared the site, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday.
Thousands of predominantly Haitian migrants had sought shelter under the bridge that connects Del Rio with Mexico, and Mayorkas confirmed there are "no migrants remaining in the camp."
"Nearly 30,000 migrants have been encountered at Del Rio since Sept. 9, with the highest number at one time reaching approximately 15,000," Mayorkas said at the White House. "Migrants continue to be expelled under the CDC's Title 42 authority."
Mayorkas was referring to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's health authorities mandating expulsions due to the coronavirus pandemic. About 2,000 migrants have been expelled under Title 42, according to Mayorkas.
Earlier Friday, US President Joe Biden sharply criticized the forceful treatment of Haitian migrants on the US-Mexico border, saying their treatment was an "embarrassment" for the US while pledging to ensure accountability.
Biden said "it was horrible" to see the scenes of predominantly Haitian migrants forcefully being corralled by border patrol agents, with some pictures that prompted widespread outcry appearing to depict horse-mounted agents using ropes and reins to whip people.
"It’s outrageous," Biden told reporters at the White House, further saying the agents "will pay" for their actions following an investigation. "It’s an embarrassment, but beyond an embarrassment it’s dangerous, it’s wrong. It sends the wrong message around the world. It send the wrong message at home. It’s simply not who we are.”
Biden has faced mounting criticism from fellow Democrats and rights groups for the situation in Del Rio, Texas where thousands of migrants have formed an encampment under a bridge. The administration has already begun the process to deport some of those at the site.
Daniel Foote, Biden's special envoy to Haiti, abruptly resigned Thursday because of what he said was a "deeply flawed" policy on Haiti./aa