U.S. flying Haitians home from Texas border; some being processed in El Paso

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DEL RIO, Texas — The United States acted Sunday to stem the flow of migrants into Texas by blocking the Mexican border at the isolated town of Del Rio where thousands of Haitian refugees set up a camp, and American officials began flying some of the migrants back to their homeland – with some coming to El Paso for processing.

The U.S. flew more than 400 Haitians back to Port-auPrince on Sunday and expected to keep sending more over the next several days.

Haitians have been crossing from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into Del Rio for almost three weeks. The Texas city of about 35,000 people sits roughly 145 miles west of San Antonio.

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said Sunday that 3,300 migrants have already been removed from the Del Rio camp to planes or detention centers, and he expects to have 3,000 of the approximately 12,600 remaining migrants moved within a day. The rest should be gone within the week, he said.

“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,” Ortiz said at news conference at the Del Rio bridge.

One of those processing facilities for the Haitian migrants alluded to by the Border Patrol is in El Paso, according to Congressman Tony Gonzales.

“ICE and CBP will also be flying migrants to other processing sectors to relieve some of the burden from Del Río. Some will be taken to El Paso, others to Laredo, with possibility for other locations,” Gonzales said in a statement posted this weekend on social media.

Some of the migrants at the Del Rio camp said the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse make them afraid to return to a country that seems more unstable than when they left.

Meantime, Mexico said Sunday it too would begin deporting Haitians to their homeland. A government official said the flights would be from towns near the U.S. border and the border with Guatemala, where the largest group remains.

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