Mexican officials on Monday night swept a camp of an estimated 2,000 people trying to migrate to the United States from Reynosa’s Plaza de la República, leaving many with nowhere to go, according to news reports and advocates who took videos of the sweep.
Shelter space in Reynosa is lacking and a sanctioned camp expected to house roughly 1,500 migrants (an expansion of the Senda de Vida shelter) set to be completed on an old soccer field is still under construction. An advocate who wished to remain anonymous expressed bewilderment that Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INM) would clear the camp without warning or coordination with groups involved in expanding local shelter space/placing people in secure apartments.
Videos show abandoned tents and belongings, as well as a large dumpster set up next to where the camp used to be as officials swept the plaza in the dark. Drone footage taken this morning showed the plaza empty. Many of the migrants living in the camp have fled instability in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti and have been returned to Reynosa under Title 42 with no ability to seek asylum at U.S. Ports of Entry.
The advocate said that while camp residents received warnings about the sweep, a date was never set, and officials in Reynosa are aware that Senda II is not ready to host people. The source added that INM and city officials provided only two buses to shuttle people to Senda de Vida, which is now taking people in to its maximum capacity despite already having expanded well beyond its original walls.
Witnesses said migrants who did not take the bus walked to the shelter on foot. The U.S. Department of State has given Tamaulipas a Level 4: Do Not Travel warning and migrants on the streets are routinely exposed to kidnapping, extortion, assault, and trafficking.
According to news reports, INM claimed to have “relocated” the camp to provide access to safe shelter and sanitation. However, those who have been aiding migrants stuck in Tamaulipas for months said not everyone has been sheltered. “Today, right now, I’m taking tents and blankets,” the advocate said. “It’s bad. It’s horrible what they did.”