By Michelle García, The Intercept

By the time word spread that up to 15,000 mostly Haitian migrants had been detained under the international bridge in Del Rio, the small Texas border town had become occupied territory. A helicopter hovered over the Rio Grande, state troopers swarmed everywhere and were stationed every half-mile along the surrounding roads. A tent city of military and law enforcement personnel had sprouted up on city-owned land on the south side of the border wall, near the makeshift camp where Haitians slept. Inside the camp, in the dirt and the heat, pregnant women went into labor.

Four years ago, Republicans and Democrats linked arms with residents from both sides of the border to form a human chain across the bridge in a show of “unity,” yet in recent weeks Del Rio has become a theater for a dramatic show of violence and force, as mounted Border Patrol agents charged at Haitian migrants while twirling their reins like whips. Some 2,300 law enforcement officers, said Mayor Bruno Lozano, had been dispatched to Val Verde County, home to roughly 49,000 residents.

Border patrol logo against a chain link fence background
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