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Photos From The Texas Border Show The Desperation Of Thousands Of Haitians At A Makeshift Camp

After crossing from Mexico into Texas, thousands of people are now living in squalid conditions as they await deportation.

Posted on September 21, 2021, at 6:06 p.m. ET

This weekend, the remote southern Texas town of Del Rio saw an influx of immigrants, many originally from Haiti, resulting in around 13,000 people living in a makeshift camp.

As the border facilities lacked the resources to take in and process the overwhelming numbers of people, many families set up camp under an international bridge. With little food and water, individuals crossed the river again to get supplies in Mexico and returned to camp with whatever they could carry. On Sunday, US Customs and Border Protection officials stopped allowing people back into Texas, even if returning to camp under the bridge.

Photos show Border Patrol agents on horseback confronting people, prompting horrified reaction on social media — and questions over whether officers used their horses' reins to whip people. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced his department would be investigating.

“What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were was horrible,” Vice President Kamala Harris said on Tuesday. “And I fully support what is happening right now, which is a thorough investigation into exactly what is going on there. But human beings should never be treated that way. And I’m deeply troubled about it.”

What comes next for many of the immigrants is unknown. Some have chosen to take to the river and traverse the chest-high water back to Mexico, and others have been put on flights back to Haiti, where they will be faced with the aftermath of a recent earthquake as well as political instability and gang violence. These photos show the dire conditions they've already faced.

Adrees Latif / Reuters

Immigrants take shelter along the Del Rio International Bridge at sunset as they wait to be processed after crossing the Rio Grande into the US from Ciudad Acuña in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 19.

John Moore / Getty Images

Haitian immigrants cross the Rio Grande back into Mexico from Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 20 to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.

Go Nakamura / Reuters

Immigrants seeking asylum in the US cross the Rio Grande after obtaining food and supplies in Mexico as the US Border Patrol agents monitor them, Sept. 20.

Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty Images

A US Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian immigrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19.

John Moore / Getty Images

Haitian immigrants fall in the mud after wading across the Rio Grande back from Del Rio, Texas, to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, on Sept. 20.

John Moore / Getty Images

Haitian immigrants cross the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas, to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico on Sept. 20.

Fernando Llano / AP

Immigrants wait after swimming across the Rio Grande, from Del Rio, Texas, to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, Sept. 20.

Julio Cortez / AP

Immigrants, many from Haiti, are seen at an encampment along the Del Rio International Bridge near the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 21.

John Moore / Getty Images

Haitian immigrants cross the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas, to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, on Sept. 20.

Julio Cortez / AP

Official vehicles line up along the bank of the Rio Grande near an encampment of immigrants, many from Haiti, near the Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 21.

Daniel Becerril / Reuters

A woman seeking refuge in the US walks through the Rio Grande, the border between Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, and Del Rio, Texas, after crossing into Mexico for food, Sept. 20.

Jordan Vonderhaar / Getty Images

Immigrants cross the Rio Grande near a temporary camp under the international bridge on Sept. 18 in Del Rio, Texas.

Daniel Becerril / Reuters

A man walks through the Rio Grande river to cross the border between Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, and Del Rio, Texas, after buying supplies in Mexico, Sept. 19.

Allison Dinner

Immigrants cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into the United States on Sept. 19.

Agencia Press South / Getty Images

A woman crosses between the United States and Mexico via the Rio Grande on Sept. 17.

Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty Images

Haitian immigrants buy food and supplies in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, on Sept. 18.

Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty Images

Texas state troopers block access to a dam on the Rio Grande where Haitian immigrants have been crossing to get food and supplies at the Acuña Del Rio International Bridge as seen from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, on Sept. 18.

Eric Gay / AP

Immigrants, many from Haiti, board a bus after they were processed and released after spending time at a makeshift camp near the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 20.

Marco Bello / Reuters

Immigrants board a US Coast Guard airplane at the Del Rio International Airport as US authorities accelerate the removal of immigrants from Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 20.

Felix Marquez / AP

A man stands on the shore of the Rio Grande before crossing from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 19.

Allison Dinner

People cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into the United States on Sept. 19.




A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.