Thursday, October 28, 2021

US officials accelerate evacuation of Haitians at border with Mexico

CIUDAD ACUÑA, Mexico — US officials on Friday moved about 2,000 people from a Texas border town to other immigration processing stations overwhelmed by an influx of Haitians and other illegal immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Saturday. .

“To ensure that irregular migrants are rapidly detained, processed and removed from the United States in line with our laws and policy, such transfers will continue,” DHS said in a statement.

While some migrants seeking jobs and security have been making their way to the United States for weeks or months, it is only in recent days that the number converting to Del Rio, Texas, has attracted widespread attention, a humanitarian and Political challenge. Biden Administration.

In response to illegal migrants seeking refuge in increasingly deteriorating conditions under the Del Rio International Bridge connecting the Texas city of Ciudad Acua in Mexico, it will ramp up flights to Haiti and other destinations within the next 72 hours, DHS said. Had been.

DHS said it is working with countries where migrants began their journey—many Haitians, to countries such as Brazil and Chile—to accept returned migrants. Officials on both sides of the border said most of the migrants were Haitians.

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry expressed solidarity with the mass of migrants at the border in a series of posts on social media late Saturday, saying that “arrangements have already been made” to warmly welcome returnees to the Caribbean nation. Is”.

“I share their anguish and tell them welcome home,” he wrote.

US Customs and Border Protection was sending 400 additional agents to the Del Rio sector in the coming days, DHS said, adding that the border agency said on Friday it was temporarily closing Del Rio’s port of entry because of the influx And Eagle was rerouting traffic for the pass. , 57 miles (92 km) to the east.

“We have reiterated that our borders are not open and people should not undertake dangerous travel,” a DHS spokesman told Reuters.

Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano said in a video Saturday night that there are now just over 14,000 illegal immigrants under the bridge.

As it became clear that US officials were deporting migrants back to their homes, Mexican police officers began asking illegal immigrants who were buying food in Ciudad Acua to return to the American side of the river on Saturday morning , according to Reuters witnesses. The migrants argued they needed the supplies, and the police eventually relented.

Bad condition

On the Texas side, Haitians are joined by Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaraguans under the Del Rio bridge, where migrants say conditions are deteriorating.

“There’s urine, feces, and we’re sleeping next to the garbage,” said Michael Vargas, a 30-year-old Venezuelan expatriate who has been at the camp with his wife and two children for three days.

Vargas said he was given ticket number 16,000 and officials were currently processing 9,800 numbers. He said people are being divided into three groups: single men, single women and families.

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Jeff Jean, a 27-year-old Haitian, was among several illegal immigrants who said families were taking longer to process than single adults, leaving young children sleeping on the ground in 99 °F (37 °C) heat. . Jean said her two sons, aged 1 and 10, fell ill with fever and cold-like symptoms.

In two photos sent to Reuters by a migrant at the camp, dozens of adults and children are shown squeezed together under a bridge, some sitting on cardboard or thin blankets spread over packed dirt. Items were neatly piled up in heaps. In the background are tents made of reeds and wooden sticks.

Typically, illegal immigrants who arrive at the border and take themselves to the authorities can claim asylum if they fear returning to their home country, triggering a lengthy court process. The Trump administration focused on security after several asylum claims were false.

A comprehensive US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public health order known as Title 42, issued under the Trump administration at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, allows most illegal immigrants to be quickly expelled without claiming asylum . President Joe Biden has upheld that rule, although he has exempted minors alone and his administration is not expelling most families.

A judge ruled Thursday that the policy cannot be applied to families, but the ruling does not apply for two weeks and the Biden administration is appealing it in court.

The mass expulsion of Haitians in Del Rio is sure to anger immigration advocates, who say such returns are inhumane given the conditions in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. In July, the president of Haiti was assassinated, and in August the country was hit by a major earthquake and powerful storm.

The Biden administration earlier this year provided temporary deportation relief to about 150,000 Haitians in the United States. This relief does not apply to new arrivals. Deportation and expulsion are technically different – expulsion is much faster.

Following the August 14 earthquake, US officials temporarily halted evacuations in Haiti.

According to CBP data, the number of Haitian immigrants arriving at the US-Mexico border has continued to rise this year, along with an increase in migrants.

Several Haitians interviewed by Reuters said they lived in South America and were now moving north because they could not obtain legal status or were struggling to secure good jobs. Several people told Reuters they followed routes shared on WhatsApp to reach Del Rio.

More than a dozen Haitians in southern Mexico’s Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala, told Reuters on Friday that messages in WhatsApp groups spread lies about the ease of crossing the border.

by Alexandra Ulmer and Christina Cook

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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