Thousands of Haitian migrants who were camping out at the small Texas border town of Del Rio have been released into the US, a new report said — even as the Biden administration has warned that those who cross into the country illegally will be sent back home.
In recent days, Haitians have been freed on “a very, very large scale” and given notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days, a US official told the Associated Press.
Another US official who spoke to AP corroborated the release of a large number of Haitians who were being processed under immigration laws.
And reporters with the news service witnessed mass releases at the Del Rio bus station.
The Haitians were among as many of 15,000 migrants who congregated last week underneath the Del Rio International Bridge after crossing into Texas from Mexico.
Local and state officials sounded the alarm, citing security concerns, prompting the US to facilitate flights to fly the migrants back home, which began on Sunday.
A third US official told AP that the plan by Wednesday is to have seven daily flights to Haiti.
On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas traveled to Del Rio and promised swift action — declaring the southern US border is “not open.”
“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed and you will be endangering your life and your family’s lives,” he said.
The criteria for deciding who is flown to Haiti and who is released in the US was unclear.
Two US officials told the AP that single adults were the priority for expulsion flights.
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