US Pledges to Boost 'Removal Flights' to Transport Haitian Migrants Stuck Under Texas Bridge
16:29 GMT 18.09.2021 (Updated: 17:16 GMT 18.09.2021)
© REUTERS / OFFICE OF U.S. CONGRESSMAN TONYMigrants are seen by the International Bridge between Mexico and the U.S., in Del Rio, Texas, U.S., September 16, 2021, in this picture obtained from social media. Picture taken September 16, 2021
© REUTERS / OFFICE OF U.S. CONGRESSMAN TONY
Thousands of migrants from Haiti who flocked into the US via the Mexico border have ended up stranded in a makeshift holding pen under the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas.
The Biden administration will step up the number of "removal flights" to move thousands of migrants currently stranded under the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas, the Department of Homeland Security has said in a statement. For these purposes, the DHS will secure additional transportation that will allow increasing both the frequency of flights and their capacity.
The removal flights will deliver migrants back to Haiti or to "other destinations in the hemisphere". The removal of migrants from under the bridge is expected to be complete in three days, the department said. The statement also said that some 2,000 migrants have already been moved from the bridge for processing and possible removal from the country.
17 September, 19:00 GMT
In addition to the DHS securing additional transport, the US Customs and Border Protection will be sending an extra 400 personnel in order to "improve control of the area" under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Mexico and Texas. They arrived in hopes of entering the US in the wake of their country suffering a political crisis following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, as well as a lasting economic crisis.
The arrival of an estimated 10,000, mostly Haitian, migrants came as a surprise for both the local CBP, which lacks the capacity to accommodate so many at one, and for the Biden administration. The latter has been taking heavy flak from the Republicans for months in 2021 due to failing to deal with the record-high influx of migrants at the US' southern border. However, shortly after the first news about the arrival of Haitian migrants broke, the CBP closed the border crossing at the Del Rio International Bridge, citing "urgent safety and security needs".