Ns New Online Desk: The Biden administration is planning to send thousands of migrants who have gathered under a bridge near a Texas border crossing back to their home nation of Haiti beginning Sunday, the Associated Press reported Friday night.
The AP cited an official who said that between five and eight flights per day would depart from various cities in an effort to relieve the pressure on local and federal officials in the city of Del Rio. It was not immediately clear which cities would be used for the departure flights.
More than 13,000 migrants, the vast majority from Haiti, were estimated to have taken shelter under the International Bridge that connects Del Rio with Ciudad Acuna, Mexico as of Friday night — and hundreds more are arriving each day.
Unable to purchase supplies in the US after wading across the knee-deep Rio Grande, they have returned to Mexico briefly for food and cardboard before settling down under the bridge to wait to be picked up by border authorities. Getty Images
Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens told the AP that some families had been under the bridge for as long as six days. Trash piles are spread 10 feet wide, and at least two women have given birth, including one who tested positive for COVID-19 after being taken to a hospital, Owens said.
On Friday, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it was closing the Del Rio crossing “to respond to urgent safety and security needs.” Travelers were being directed to Eagle Pass, Texas, 57 miles away.Haitians have been migrating to the US in large numbers from South America for several years, many of them having left the Caribbean nation after a devastating earthquake in 2010. After jobs dried up following the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, many made the dangerous trek by foot, bus and car to the US-Mexico border.It is unclear how such a large number amassed so quickly, though many Haitians have been assembling in camps on the Mexican side of the border to wait while deciding whether to attempt to enter the United States.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blamed the Biden administration for the chaos Thursday, claiming that the White House had ordered a stop to deportation flights to Haiti.
“There were about 900 Haitians who were getting ready to board the flights when the political operatives in Washington canceled the flights,” Cruz claimed to Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “Well, what happened? Those 900 people, they all pulled out their cellphones and they emailed their friends and they emailed their families and they texted their friends and their families …. 700 people have grown to 10,500 because the word has gone out: If you’re from Haiti, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have said, ‘We have open borders, come to Del Rio and they will let you in.’”