The 35-year-old father weighed his options: head back into the US, where he could be sent back to Haiti, or stay in Mexico as authorities closed in around him and other immigrants.
Wood, who declined to give his full name out of fear of retaliation from the US or Mexico for speaking out, said he didn’t have a plan but needed to form one if he’s to take care of his wife and two daughters.
“I’d like to stay here in Mexico, but I’m scared because I don’t have permission to be here, Wood told BuzzFeed News. “But the US may deport us. I don’t know what to do.”
Like hundreds of immigrants who left the camp in Del Rio, Texas, this week in an attempt to avoid being flown to Haiti, the walls are closing in on them, this time from the Mexican side of the border. Immigration agents, flanked by armed soldiers and police officers, conducted day and nighttime raids on the streets of Ciudad Acuña, where they have been detaining and flying immigrants to southern Mexican states. For days, immigrants have been going back and forth across the precarious Rio Grande, moving to whichever side of the border seems friendliest.
On Thursday before dawn, Mexican immigration agents drove into the camp flanked by local police and the National Guard. The immigrants, most of them Haitian, who had been living at a park in Ciudad Acuña, were startled awake. The presence of Mexican authorities was enough to scare some of them back to the US side of the border, a place they had previously abandoned after the Biden administration started to send back hundreds of immigrants to Haiti. No one was detained at the park, but the threat loomed.
The Biden administration has moved thousands of immigrants from the Del Rio area to other parts of the border, to be processed into the country or removed. It has relied, in large part, on the Title 42 policy, which cites the pandemic as the reason for allowing border agents to quickly turn back asylum-seekers, to clear the camp in Del Rio of thousands of Haitians. In a matter of days, the US flew almost 2,000 immigrants back to Haiti. On Friday, more flights were expected to the country, which has been struggling following an earthquake and presidential assassination.