Thousands of migrants from Haiti flocked to the city of Del Rio, Texas since Friday. Border services said they were forced to temporarily close the border crossing in a city neighboring Mexico. The US Department of Homeland Security has announced that the US authorities are planning to conduct a large-scale expulsion of Haitian migrants.
The US security department said it had relocated approximately 2,000 Haitians to other locations in preparation for the operation. About 400 agents and service officers will oversee the operation from Monday morning, and the government is ready to send more officers if needed.
According to local authorities, some 13,000 migrants have come to Del Rio, a city with a population of 35,000 and located about 230 km west of San Diego, in recent days. Local officials are alerting that the city does not have the conditions to receive such a large influx of people.
As residents of the city said, migrants pitched tents in the streets and built makeshift shelters out of a giant reed called Carrizo. Many bathed and washed their clothes in the river.
The US plans to send back the Haitians
The Department of Homeland Security plans to launch special air connections with Haiti from Sunday, which will send migrants back. Five to eight planes are expected to fly daily, but the details of the operation will only be released after the Haitian government has responded to these plans.
Border services informed that due to the influx of migrants, they temporarily closed the border crossing in Del Rio and redirected traffic to the Eagle Pass, 92 km to the east.
Massive influx of migrants
Haitians have been migrating en masse to the US from South America for several years, many leaving their country after the devastating 2010 earthquake. They try to get to their destination on foot, buses and cars, often breaking through the Panama jungle.
The order introduced in March 2020 in the United States for the immediate expulsion of migrants without the possibility of applying for asylum, related to the pandemic, remains in force. Unaccompanied children and certain families are exempt from this obligation.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Miguel Sierra