UNITED STATES. will start traveling migrants back to Haiti and other countries on Sunday as President Biden struggles to regulate the immigration system that is already on record migration.
18 September 2021Updated at 9:25 pm ET
WASHINGTON – The Biden government announced Saturday that it will quickly begin expelling Haitians who have stranded thousands on the southern border in the last week after illegally entering the United States, as they struggle to manage the worsening crisis.
Immigrants are growing up in the South Texas city of Del Rio and adding more to the immigration system that is already on record migration, with hundreds of thousands crossing each month and many already waiting years for a hearing.
Even in the face of searing criticism from human rights groups and opposition from some Democratic lawmakers, the government pushed forward with a strategy intended to explain the floods in Del Rio and deter more Haitians from trying to come to the United States.
“We have made it clear that our borders are not open, and people should not make dangerous trips,” said Marsha Espinosa, assistant secretary of public affairs for the Department of Homeland Security.
The Biden government has three flights planned for Sunday, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss plans that are evolving, and starting Monday, it will run four flights a day. Most passengers will be adults. Under the proposal, issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the administration would “accelerate the speed and increase capacity” of removal flights to Haiti and other destinations within the next 72 hours. But many details – such as the number of people on each flight or how people will be treated before being placed on the flight – were not immediately clear on Saturday.
The government temporarily suspended flights expelled to Haiti after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake in August. But the sudden surge in migrant crossings in the past week has pushed for a change of course.
The chaotic situation, with thousands of Haitians crossing the Rio Grande every day to reach U.S. soil, has presented a new challenge, for the Biden government, which has lasted for months with a number of undocumented immigrants at the border.
The border crossing has reached its highest level in several years. More than 200,000 people were intercepted by the U.S. Border Patrol. Last month, it took this fiscal year’s total to more than 1.5 million.
President Biden, who has vowed to adopt a more humane approach to immigration than before, has taken tough action in an effort to retain protection. The government stated that its plan to manage a large number of Haitians is in line with its enforcement policies.
“Individuals and families are subject to prohibition, including expulsion,” Ms. Espinosa said. “Irregular migration is a significant threat to the health and well -being of border communities and the lives of immigrants alone and should not be attempted.”
But some Republican critics, such as Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, have linked the crisis at the border to Mr. Biden to offer a path to citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in the United States.
“When tens of thousands of illegal immigrants come across the border, Joe Biden promises them citizenship,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday night. “He’s making this crisis worse.”
The flight came when the Biden administration pulled a court decision this week that ended Trump -era public health policies that use the corona virus pandemic to justify the return of illegal immigrants at the border. Mr. Biden has continued that policy, rejecting calls to raise the measure of immigration and human rights defenders who are disappointed that it is to prevent the protectionist from seeking protection.
The Department of Homeland Security closed the port of entry Del Rio after more than 14,000 Haitians crossed from Mexico and had camped under the bridge, waiting to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol. It stated that it has already sent 400 additional agents to the area, and will send more if needed, to assist with processing. A response team from the Ministry of Health and Human Services has been sent there to start providing Covid-19 tests, officials said familiar with the plan.
The department said it is also moving immigrants to other parts of the border that are now less flooded than Del Rio, a city of about 35,000 people surrounded by numerous orchards, thorn bushes and mesquite trees that are about 150 miles west of San Antonio.
With little food, migrants have crossed the small river between Mexico and Texas. Some seek employment in the United States, and others are not fleeing violence or racial discrimination in other countries. Families wait in dense crowds, wet in dirt or grind in hot weather in slippery conditions.
Many of the majority of immigrants have arrived after months of traveling on land from Brazil and Chile, where many were granted permission to live and work after the earthquake hit the country in 2010. The economies of those countries have been hit by the pandemic. To help repatriated Haitians who have not lived in the country for years, nonprofit organizations and several American officials will be assigned at Port-au-Prince airport to receive immigrants when they are late, the official said.
People who have resettled firmly in other countries do not have asylum rights in the United States, which suggests that many Haitian people at the border will have a difficult time getting claims for protection in the United States unless they can prove that they experienced violence.
However, the proponents accused the United States of violating international law by expelling people without screening them to ascertain whether they have reasonable claims of fear of returning to earth. The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to questions about whether that was the policy. On Saturday, hundreds had confessed to fear and refused to submit to exile, officials said.
“Part of the problem is, there are a lot of Haitians who come with a set of statuses,” said Yael Schacher, a senior U.S. attorney. for Refugees International, a nonprofit organization.
Still, he and others criticized the United States for returning people to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, plunged into a crisis this summer with a natural disaster and the assassination of its president.
“We Haitians are experiencing crisis after crisis and need compassion,” Representative Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, said on Twitter on Saturday. “Instead of increasing deportation, we should stop it. It’s a shame that from administration to administration our cruel immigration policy remains.”
Introducing the difficult situation in Haiti, the Biden government recently extended temporary relief of exile to be around 150,000 Haitians who had lived in the United States, giving them temporary custody status. But tens of thousands have tried to cross into the country since despite not qualifying for the program, which covers those on July 29, before the new earthquake.
This week, the United States resumed fishing flights to Haiti on public health orders. Immigration and Customs Enforcement registered again about 90 Haitians on Wednesday.
Among those deported were families who had small children, according to the Haitian Bridge Alliance, an advocacy group, which also stated that they were deported under Title 42. Many Haitian families claimed fear and were not deported, officials said.
ICE Air uses charter aircraft that have the capacity to transport around 135 people. The Department of Defense is expected to provide several aircraft as well to transfer migrants to other border stations to facilitate congestion in Del Rio. ICE has flown migrants from Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio to El Paso, Tucson and San Diego for processing.
In recent months, the government has increased fishing flights to Mexico, Central America and South America. In August, there were 99 possible calendar flights compared with 46 in July and 35 in June, according to Tom Cartwright, who tracks ICE Air flights for Witnesses at the Border, an advocacy group.
Haitians are a small part of the border crossing, or about 4 percent of immigrants who are trapped by border agents in August, explored by Central Americans and Mexicans.
But the number has swelled a few months ago. Nearly 28,000 Haitians have been detained by Border Patrol along the United States-Mexico border in the current fiscal year, which ended on September 30, compared with 4,395 in 2020 and 2,046 in 2019.
Despite public health measures, along some borders the United States does not expel immigrant families with young children because Mexico has refused to accept them. And within days, Mexican people told border officials that its shelters were in capacity and could only take a number of immigrants.
“There’s just such confusion between immigrants and asylum seekers, about what conditions are at the border and how they can seek protection,” said Robyn Barnard, senior counsel for refugee protection at Human Rights First.
Joselyne Simeus, 32, a native of Haitian, has lived in Chile for seven years. When he heard that the United States could let the family in, he decided to take his chance. On Saturday, Simeus’s mother and her 5 -year -old son, Samuel, were among those who came pushed under the bridge.
On Saturday, he stood in line to board the Greyhound bus in Del Rio, destined to reach family in Florida and sad that many of his positions were abandoned.
“Really sad, because many people like me will be returned after all that in passing so far,” said Ms. Simeus. “I am lucky because I have children. But many people like me run away because we are hopeless. There is no chance in Haiti. There is no need to reverse it. I came here because I want a better opportunity. “
Eileen Sullivan reports from Washington, and Miriam Jordan from Los Angeles. Edgar Sandoval and James Dobbins contributed reporting from Del Rio, Texas, and Maria Abi-Habib from Ennery, Haiti.