EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Tensions are running high as migrants camped along the Rio Grande in Ciudad Juarez were moved out by law enforcement the past two days.
One police officer reportedly was hit by a rock. Migrants told KTSM that felt they were being treated like “animals.”
“Where did you guys graduate from to be pushing people like that?” yelled a man as they were pushed out of the camp. “There’s no animals here, brother. There’s no animals here. What are we, all delinquents?”
An officer in riot gear could be heard telling the man to step back.
The director of the Chihuahua Population Council, Enrique Valenzuela, told reporters the migrants were moved out of the camp because the cold wintery temperatures over Thanksgiving weekend.
“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,” Valenzuela said.
As the tents were taken down, some could be seen on fire.
Our crews who were at the tent camp on Sunday reported that a Mexican police officer was injured with a rock that was thrown as they tried to get migrants moved out of the camp.
The executive director for the Border Network for Human Rights, Fernando Garcia, calling it “unjustified.”
“We don’t know what was the rationale. There’s some explanation to it but I don’t think anything justified what happened,” Garcia said.
Garcia said many of the supplies the migrants were using at the tent camp came from El Paso.
“I don’t know why or who burned the tents. What I can tell you is that many of us here in El Paso, many members of our community contributed to that camp to provide medication, medicines with some of the tents, chairs,” he said.
Our news partners at Border Report reported that Juarez officials called the tent camp a “political protest”.
The tent camp along the Rio Grande appeared in October after the Department of Homeland Security announced it would expel Venezuelan migrants who crossed the border illegally under Title 42.
As we have reported a federal judge struck down Title 42 but put a stay order giving the Biden administration until Dec. 21 to dismantle the public health order Title 42.
The migrants camping along the river say they are waiting to cross the border when Title 42 is lifted.
“I haven’t turned myself in. I am scared to turn myself in because I know they’re going to send me back (to her home country),” said a woman who had been staying in the tent camp.
Some of the migrants were moved out of the river camp and could be seen in a park in Juarez. Mexican authorities have since been moved out the park too.
Many of the migrants declined the offer of going to a shelter.