UPDATE: A Juarez city police officer was hurt when he was hit in the head with a rock that was thrown during a fight between migrants and police. Police had been called to remove migrants from their Rio Grande camp because of rising cases of hypothermia and pneumonia.
EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — As KTSM 9 News has previously reported, several migrants have been camping along the Mexican banks of the Rio Grande with hopes of seeking asylum in the U.S., and some waiting for the end of the Title 42 policy.
Mexican authorities removed a significant number of migrants Sunday from the campsite. The migrants were forced to leave their tents, but some refused during the process. It was also reported that there were altercations between police and migrants. Some tents were reportedly burned during the operation. A Juarez police officer was injured in the head with a rock, which was thrown during the removal process.
Enrique Valenzuela, the director of the State Population Office told our news partners that this operation was necessary due to adults and children experiencing symptoms of hypothermia and pneumonia.
“This situation was not only necessary but even urgent because we already had some cases of hypothermia and pneumonia in the population here, even in children, even while they were using fires to warm themselves, and of course, this is a risk for all of these people that are in tents here,” Valenzuela said.
Around 500 migrants agreed to leave the campsite but many said they were not going far due to them waiting out the end of the Title 42 policy, which the Biden administration has been ordered to end by Dec. 21.
Title 42 is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public health order, enacted by the Trump administration, to stop the cross-border spread of COVID-19. The policy has allowed border agents to expel migrants encountered at the southern border back to Mexico. Both the Biden and Trump administrations have used it to expel migrants nearly 3 million times.
“I’ve only been here for three days. Yesterday, I bought a tent so we would all be OK, especially my children, but look what happened. It does get very cold, my daughter’s lips would turn purple. We had never dealt with such cold weather like we did here. It’s horrible, but I will say something to the president to the United States. I advise him to be aware because we’re parents and we have gone through a lot for our children. We have been through a lot just to get here and they to do this to us.” said Roxana Cruz, a migrant from Venezuela.