Dozens of migrants will soon be forced to go back to Haiti as the Biden administration aims to crack down on people crossing the border into Texas. The administration plans to deport the migrants on planeloads starting as soon as Sunday, The Washington Post reports.
The Department of Homeland Security said up to three planes per day will carry the migrants in the first few days as the operation kicks into gear. Officials want to eventually start sending as many as eight flights per day.
“DHS will secure additional transportation to accelerate the pace and increase the capacity of removal flights to Haiti and other destinations in the hemisphere within the next 72 hours,” Marsha Espinosa, a spokeswoman for the department, told The Post.
Espinosa said the department has been sending multiple warnings about crossing the border.
“We have reiterated that our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey,” the spokeswoman 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.”
Another official said the flight operation is not a targeted measure aimed at Haitians.
“This isn’t about any one country or country of origin,” the official said. “This is about enforcing border restrictions on those who continue to enter the country illegally and put their lives and the lives of the federal workforce at risk.”
According to Axios, more than 10,000 migrants who are mostly coming from Haiti have been staying in a temporary camp under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. Customs and Border Patrol is now planning to send 400 agents and officers to the Del Rio sector.
The number of migrants who assembled at the camp has increased from about 400 as of a week ago to around 13,990 on Friday, CNN reported. Many of the Haitians at the temporary site were living in South America after the 2010 earthquake decimated their country. Now, as several South Americans nations face the economic toll of the pandemic, Haitians are choosing to migrate to the U.S. southern border.
The Biden administration has been applying Title 42, a pandemic enforcement measure which allows officials to rapidly expel border crossers. In a ruling on Thursday, a federal judge blocked the administration from using the measure. But the court stayed the order for 14 days.
Haiti was devastated by a 7.2-mangnitude earthquake in August that left at least 1,941 people dead, nearly 10,000 injured and thousands more who are now homeless. The country faced more turmoil when its president was assassinated in May.