The United States said Saturday it would step up the number of so-called “removal flights” for thousands of migrants who flooded into the Texas border city of Del Rio, in a bid to alleviate a burgeoning crisis for President Joe Biden’s administration. The migrants who poured into the city, many of them Haitian, were being held in an area controlled by US Customs and Border Protection beneath the Del Rio International Bridge, which carries traffic across the Rio Grande river into Mexico.
Video footage showed thousands of people under and around the bridge. US media put the total figure at close to 14,000. CBP has dispatched 400 additional personnel to “improve control of the area,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement, unveiling its plans to contain the situation.
The port of entry at Del Rio has been temporarily closed, and traffic is being rerouted to relieve the bottlenecks that had formed at the bridge.
Homeland Security said it would “secure additional transportation to accelerate the pace and increase the capacity of removal flights to Haiti and other destinations in the hemisphere within the next 72 hours.
CBP said the “majority of migrants” would be expelled under the government’s Title 42 policy curtailing immigration due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain will be placed in expedited removal proceedings,” CBP said.
Biden promised a more humane approach to immigration as compared to his predecessor Donald Trump, but the veteran Democrat has fought to stem the tide of migrants crossing the border since he took office in January. Most are sent back, but many families and almost all unaccompanied minors are permitted to stay.
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