In desperate hopes to deter other migrants from crossing the border illegally, the Biden administration began repatriating thousands of Haitian migrants from the southern border back to Haiti on Sunday morning under Title 42’s provision.
This comes as detainment facilities and makeshift encampments overflow and deteriorate under the Del Rio, Texas international bridge between the United States and Mexico.
Biden officials announced official deportation plans on Saturday in response to the sudden influx of Haitians that have arrived at the southern border to seek asylum. These migrants are overwhelming an already fragile immigration system that, at the current rate, will cause the U.S. to struggle to process record-breaking migration cases for the next several years.
Migrants have been given two choices, to either fly back to their point of origin, as in the case of Haitians, or to await processing crossing back into Mexico.
An administration official spoke on the condition of anonymity to KENS5, saying that they were expecting two flights a day, at most, for Haitian migrants to be flown back on, and that they would be tested for COVID-19 prior to boarding.
Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano confirmed two flights transporting Haitian migrants left the U.S. early Sunday morning, suggesting that deportation plans are already underway.
Lozano indicated more than 15,000 migrants have arrived and are illegally camping underneath the international bridge, constituting approximately one-third of the Del Rio city population that already counts with very limited resources to help its own people.
The mayor said at least 14,000 of these illegal migrants are Haitians, which is why the Biden Administration is spurring to have them all deported by the planeloads.
Martha Espinoza, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, confirmed to Washington Post they would be accelerating and increasing the pace of removal flights to Haiti “and other destinations in the hemisphere within the next 72 hours.”
“We have reiterated that our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey,” Espinosa said. “Irregular migration poses a significant threat to the health and welfare of border communities and to the lives of migrants themselves and should not be attempted.”
Bill Melugin, Fox News reporter, spoke with a Haitian that attempted to cross the border due to believing it would be “easier” to do under the Biden administration. He had been living in Chile since 2016. Many Haitians in general are concerned of being deported back to a country they haven’t proclaimed home in years, with many having found themselves relocating to other parts of South America, such as Brazil and Chile.
Haitians have been attempting to flee the country as it was mired with natural disasters and political crises, with Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, being assassinated in July, followed by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake during the month of August. An estimated 800,000 people were affected by the earthquake, and around 650,000 Haitians still require emergency medical assistance.
Haitians that have relocated in parts of South America decided to head to the U.S. due to difficulties obtaining legal status in other countries, as well as struggling finding jobs.
Border crossings have reached record-breaking levels not witnessed in decades. More than 200,000 people were apprehended in the month of August, which has brought the total to more than 1.5 million illegal immigrants during this fiscal year.
Several thousand migrants are expected to be repatriated to Haiti or flown to other countries where they have been residing over the next several days.
Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, has directed local and state officials to control points of entry at the southern border, while the Department of Homeland Security finally decided to temporarily shut down points of entry over the weekend. In addition, Border Patrol, Coast Guard, and Immigrations and Custom Enforcement agents have been deployed to improve control of the area in Del Rio.