The administration of US President Joe Biden is implementing a strategy to ramp up deportation flights to forcibly expel migrants in South Texas where thousands of people are held in squalid conditions.
The US Department of Homeland Security said in a statement on Saturday that it plans to secure additional transportation to “accelerate the pace and increase the capacity of removal flights” to Haiti within the next 72 hours, following a surge of undocumented migrants crossing the southern border that has overwhelmed the authorities.
Details are yet to be worked out but the forced expulsion will likely involve five to eight flights a day, said one official, who has direct knowledge of the plans but was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, while another said they were expecting two flights a day at maximum.
Another source told The Washington Post that the administration would start with up to three flights a day.
Authorities are also reportedly planning to fly some of the migrants to other parts of the border that are not experiencing a surge like Del Rio’s.
The new surge of migrants in the southern border represents yet another test of President Joe Biden’s widely-criticized immigration policy.
Biden had repeatedly promised on the campaign trail to overturn the harshest aspects of Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda.
The scene of dense crowds, sleeping on dirt in scorching heat and with little access to food and clear water, drew condemnations from local officials.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the state police and the National Guard to assist border agents in Del Rio, criticizing what he deemed as an inadequate federal response to the crisis.
“The Biden administration is in complete disarray and is handling the border crisis as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan,” he said.
In recent months, the Southwest border has been inundated with a surge of unauthorized crossings not seen in more than two decades. Nearly 200,000 immigrants were arrested at the southwest border in August alone, according to government data.
Republicans have blamed Biden’s mishandling of the border for the growing stream of migrants and asylum seekers.