Thousands of Haitians who had made it to a Texas border camp are now being forced to leave on repatriation flights, according to CNBC.
Reports estimate that over 12,000 migrants were living at the camp near Del Rio, Texas, but as of last Friday, authorities had already relocated over a quarter of them, according to Reuters.
Border agents claim that the influx of Haitians is causing a crisis.
“We have sent a very clear message early on, in light of the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic, that the border is not open, and people should not take the perilous journey here,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Mayorkas indicated that migrants will fly either back to Haiti or “possibly other countries.”
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said “arrangements have already been made” to receive the citizens. However, according to an immigration official there, Haiti is not equipped to handle the thousands soon to return, many of whom cannot imagine going back.
“I don’t want to be deported,” said 36-year-old Haitian Alex Rosiere. “If I am deported now, I’ll die in Haiti. Why? Because there’s no security in Haiti.”
President Biden has extended Title 42, a public health order implemented under Trump, which enables the U.S. to quickly expel migrants without first giving them the chance to apply for asylum.
Last week, a federal judge ruled that the policy does not apply to families. The Biden administration is now appealing that decision despite the president’s promises to establish a more humane immigration system.