The Biden administration will fly Haitian migrants back to their home country after a wave of migrants entered the United States through the southern border in recent days.
The sudden wave brought thousands of Haitians to Del Rio, Texas, many gathering near a bridge in the border town as the administration prepared a plan to deal with what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deemed a border crisis.
Expelling Haitian migrants from the United States – which is set to begin Sunday – is part of the Biden administration’s six-point strategy for dealing with the increase in border crossings in Del Rio, the Department of Homeland Security said Saturday.
The plan also calls for additional U.S. personnel at the border, relocating migrants to other processing locations and improving conditions for migrants in the U.S.
Within 48 hours, 400 additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers will be sent to the Del Rio Port of Entry to “improve control of the area” in response to the large influx of migrants into the country, according to DHS. More will be sent as necessary.
CBP closed the border crossing with Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, so that they could respond to “urgent safety and security needs.”
Traffic also will be rerouted to the Eagle Pass Port of Entry, 57 miles east of the Del Rio port, to “more effectively manage resources and ensure uninterrupted flow of trade and travel,” according to the DHS strategy.
As the U.S. plans to accelerate the pace and increase capacity of flights to removemigrants at the border, the Biden administration is taking “urgent humanitarian actions” to improve the their conditions while on U.S. soil and in custody, ensuring the “safety and security of migrants,” including having Border Patrol emergency medical technicians at hand and supplying water, towels and portable toilets.
The White House also has directed U.S. agencies to work with Haitian and other governments to provide assistance and support migrants being returned to those respective countries.
Haitians were crossing the Rio Grande freely, wading through knee-deep water – the only thing separating them between the U.S. and Mexico. Those who couldn’t purchase supplies and necessities in the U.S. would just cross the Rio Grande to briefly visit Mexico to retrieve what they needed, including food and cardboard, which was used to temporality settle under or near a bridge in Del Rio.
Many migrants built tents and temporary housing from giant reeds of carrizo cane while also using the river to bathe and wash clothes.
DHS stressed that under the Biden Administration “borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey,” according to the statement outlining the strategy released Saturday morning. It also stressed that migrants crossing the border will be subject to restrictions, including expulsion.
Contributing: Associated Press and Martha Pskowski of the El Paso Times