Julia Ainsley -
Julia Ainsley -
The Joe Biden Administration is prioritizing Haitian adults arriving alone and some families in mass deportations from the Texas border, where
more than 15,000 migrants
, mostly from the Caribbean island, have camped under an international bridge to seek asylum, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials said.
Unaccompanied children and some families will be allowed to remain in the United States and will be given dates for their asylum hearings.
But thousands of migrants will be deported to Haiti, including families who do not request refuge.
Many have not seen Haiti since they fled to Latin American countries after the 2010 earthquake or some of the successive natural and political crises the country has suffered.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will begin conducting
six to eight deportation flights a day starting Tuesday
, officials said.
There were three migrant repatriation flights on Sunday.
The Secretary of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, visited Del Río this Monday to meet with state and local officials, and learn about the situation from the scene.
Migrant families, many of them from Haiti, wait for a bus after being processed and released after spending time in a makeshift camp near the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021.
Over the weekend, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) closed the Del Rio International Bridge, diverting traffic to the nearby town of Eagle Pass, Texas, and increased the number of agents deployed in the area.
Texas state troops began blocking the passage of migrants across the Rio Grande to prevent them from crowding under the bridge.
Border Patrol Chief Raúl Ortiz said Sunday that the agency had pulled 3,300 migrants out of the crowd of 15,000 from under the bridge.
First-ranking DHS officials said
several pregnant women went into labor
while crowded into the crowd under the bridge, and all the babies were born healthy and safe.
ICE usually tests all migrants for COVID-19 before deporting them, and even removes them from flights to quarantine when necessary.
However, in the rush to shrink the crowd as quickly as possible, this practice is not being carried out on these repatriation flights, officials said.
"That they return to us is a pittance," says a Haitian immigrant on the US-Mexico border.
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Immigrants are screened for symptoms.
A DHS spokeswoman said, in relation to the three flights that departed Sunday, that "all passengers were medically examined before boarding."
Migrants and staff
were provided and required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE)
, such as masks, before and during the flight. "To be authorized to travel, they were required to have a temperature below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and not to present symptoms related to COVID-19," the official added.