Biden Administration to Deport Haitians in South Texas

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More than 14,000 Haitians are camping under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, awaiting processing by the United States Border Patrol.

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WASHINGTON – The Biden administration announced Saturday that it will begin rapidly deporting Haitians who have gathered at the southern border in the past week after illegally entering the United States.


The move is meant to remove overflow in the south Texas border city of Del Rio and prevent more Haitians from trying to immigrate to the United States, a strategy that has drawn strong criticism from human rights groups and opposition from some Democratic lawmakers.

The Biden administration has three flights planned for Sunday, and more could be scheduled for the coming days, according to an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plans developed. The flights will go to Haiti as well as to countries in South America where migrants are staying.

Under the plan outlined by the Department of Homeland Security, the administration will “accelerate and increase capacity” to divert flights to Haiti and other destinations over the next 72 hours. Several details of the plan – such as the number of people on each flight or how people will be processed before being placed on the flight – were not immediately clear on Saturday.

Administration suspended return flights to Haiti after a devastating earthquake in August, which was followed by weeks of civil unrest, a powerful tropical storm. But a sudden jump in migrant crossings over the past week has prompted US officials to change plans.

More than 14,000 Haitians, many carrying mattresses, fruit, diapers and blankets, crossed the ankle-deep river between Mexico and Del Rio and camped under a bridge, awaiting processing by the United States Border Patrol. Huh. Some are looking for work in the United States, and others are fleeing violence or racial discrimination in other countries.

To ease pressure on resources, the Department of Homeland Security said it had sent 400 agents to the Del Rio area, and would send additional staff if necessary.

It said it was also moving migrants to other parts of the border that are currently less overwhelmed than Del Rio, a city of about 35,000 residents mostly surrounded by farmland, thorny brush and mesquite trees. About 150 miles west of San Antonio.

Many of the migrants have arrived after months of traveling on land from Brazil and Chile, where they were allowed to stay after the country’s 2010 earthquake. The economies of those countries have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Headed to the border after traveling directly from Haiti to Mexico a few days or months ago.

Return flights to Haiti resume as the Biden administration is appealing a court decision that blocked a Trump-era policy of barring migrant families from entering the United States, a policy that has long been It has been criticized by immigration and human rights advocates, and even Vice President Kamala Harris when she was a senator.

“This administration has talked a big game about wanting a humanitarian asylum system,” said Lee Gelern, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union and a pioneer in the lawsuit challenging the public health policy known as Title 42. . “It is appalling that the administration is sending a widespread message that the border has been closed without acknowledging that asylum seekers have no choice but to flee and seek safety.”

Eileen Sullivan reported from Washington, and Mary Jordan from Los Angeles.

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