US US to step up 'removal flights' for migrants stranded at Texas bridge
Children a big part of migration through perilous Darien Gap
NECOCLI, Colombia (AP) — Every day, at least 500 migrants from around the world sail out of Necocli, a small town on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, across the Gulf of Uraba to the village of Acandi, to start a week-long trek through the jungle that takes them into Panama — the next stop on the long road to the United States. About one quarter of them are children, according to Panamanian officials, and often still in arms. While trekking throughAbout one quarter of them are children, according to Panamanian officials, and often still in arms.
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.
US nears plan for widescale expulsions of Haitian migrants
DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — The Biden administration worked Saturday on plans to send many of the thousands of Haitian immigrants who have gathered in a Texas border city back to their Caribbean homeland, in a swift response to the huge influx of people who suddenly crossed the border from Mexico and congregated under and around a bridge. Details were yet to be finalized but would likely involve five to eight flights per day that would begin Sunday, according to an official with direct knowledge of the plans who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
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."
Biden sends hundreds of border agents, steps up flights to remove Haitian migrants from south Texas
The Department of Homeland Security released the Biden administration's six-point strategy to deal with the influx of migrants at the southern border.The sudden wave brought thousands of Haitians to Del Rio, Texas, many gathering near a bridge in the border town as the administration prepared a plan to deal with what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deemed a border crisis.
The statement also said the Biden administration was taking action to "reduce crowding and improve conditions for migrants on US soil," and working with "source and transit countries in the region" to accept those who previously lived in those countries.
CBP has been overwhelmed by the number of migrants crossing the border from Mexico seeking admittance to the United States, as well as an influx of migrants from Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban's takeover of that country.
Video: Biden meets with DACA recipients, continues talks of protecting Dreamer status (NBC News)
Political pressure had mounted on Biden to address the issue of immigration, with both Republicans and his fellow Democrats calling for quick action.
The US government processed and mostly expelled more than 200,000 migrants at the border in both July and August, the highest numbers in more than a decade.
Emmys 2021: Ted Lasso, Mare of Easttown Among Night's First Winners
The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards are being handed out this Sunday night, at an in-person ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in Downtown Los Angeles, hosted by Cedric The Entertainer and airing on CBS/streaming live on Paramount+. The Queen’s Gambit dominated the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend, picking up nine technical awards for its limited series run on
- Influx of Haitians -
Some said Biden's decision in late July -- after Haitian president Jovenel Moise's assassination -- to allow Haitians without US visas at the time to remain in the country offered an incentive for others to come.
"10,503 illegal aliens are under this bridge tonight because Joe Biden made a political decision to cancel deportation flights to Haiti," Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz tweeted on Thursday.
But in Saturday's statement, the Department of Homeland Security said "regular expulsion and removal flights" were ongoing to Haiti, Mexico, Ecuador, and countries in Central America's Northern Triangle -- Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The number of Haitians crossing the southwest border into the United States has been surging for months.
Many come from South America, where they may have migrated to years ago, especially after the country's January 2010 earthquake.
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.
Live updates: Biden vows action for treatment of Haitian migrants; Mayorkas says migrants gone from bridge camp .
Biden vowed action in his first extensive remarks on border patrol agents on horses who chased and seemed to whip Haitian migrants with their reins.“It’s outrageous. I promise you those people will pay. They will be investigated. There will be consequences,” Biden said in response to a reporter's question at the White House.