The Biden administration will fly Haitian migrants back to their home country after a wave of migrants entered the USA through the southern border.
Thousands of Haitians came 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 crisis.
Expelling Haitian migrants from the USA – 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 calls for additional U.S. personnel at the border, relocating migrants to other processing locations and improving conditions for migrants in the USA.
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,” according to DHS. More will be sent if necessary.
CBP closed the border crossing with Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, so it could respond to “urgent safety and security needs.”
Traffic 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 United States plans to accelerate the pace and increase capacity of flights to remove migrants at the border, the Biden administration is taking “urgent humanitarian actions” to improve their conditions 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 directed U.S. agencies to work with Haiti and other governments to provide assistance and support for migrants returned to their countries.
Haitians crossed the Rio Grande freely, wading through knee-deep water – the only thing separating the USA and Mexico. Those who couldn’t purchase supplies and necessities in the USA crossed the river to Mexico to get what they needed, including food and cardboard, which was used to temporality settle under or near the bridge in Del Rio.
Many migrants built tents from giant reeds of carrizo cane, 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 stressed that migrants crossing the border will be subject to restrictions, including expulsion.
Contributing: Martha Pskowski, El Paso Times; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden administration to remove Haitian migrants, boost border agents