Haitian refugees are being expelled from a Texas border town without any opportunity to seek asylum under a Biden administration order, just weeks after another massive earthquake and tropical storm delivered a one-two punch that devastated the already impoverished country.
Over 12,000 refugees and migrants are currently kept in a camp in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing the border from Mexico at the checkpoint in Ciudad Acuna. The U.S. has already begun deporting them in mass flights, in the largest, most rapid large-scale deportation in decades.
320 Haitian refugees were flown out on Sunday, and twice that are expected to go Tuesday. Since last Friday, over 3,000 migrants have been moved from the Del Rio camp to airports or detention centers. The plan is to empty the entire camp without giving anyone in it the opportunity to seek refuge.
“In Haiti, there is no security,” said Fabricio Jean, a 38-year-old Haitian who arrived in Texas with his wife and two daughters. “The country is in a political crisis.” He is afraid to return to Haiti, which has no power, little in the way of public water access, and may be about to erupt into civil war as the Prime Minister is accused of being involved in the assassination of late President Jovenel Moise.
“We are working around the clock to expeditiously move migrants out of the heat, elements and from underneath this bridge to our processing facilities in order to quickly process and remove individuals from the United States consistent with our laws and our policies,” said Border Patrol Chief Raul L. Ortiz in a press conference on Sunday in Del Rio.
The expulsion, too rapid to even really be called deportation, was made legal by a Trump-era measure allowing migrants to be removed from the country without a chance to seek asylum. The Biden administration altered it to grant that right back to unaccompanied children, but no one else.
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