AIn the face of thousands of migrants in the Texas border town of Del Rio, the US government is betting on quick deportations. Numerous people from Haiti and other countries have gathered under a bridge that connects the USA and Mexico since last week. The US Department of Homeland Security announced on Saturday that it would procure additional transportation to increase the pace and capacity of deportation flights to Haiti. The situation on the border throws a spotlight on President Joe Biden’s immigration policy – the number of migrants apprehended on the US southern border has risen rapidly in recent months.

The mayor of Del Rio, Bruno Lozano, had recently requested urgent help from the federal government. Lozano said the migrants were mostly from Haiti, entering the country illegally, and waiting to be picked up by border guards. However, this is overwhelmed in view of the great rush. US media reports about 14,000 people who persevered in Del Rio in inhumane conditions.

Faster to deportation

The Ministry of Homeland Security now wants to redistribute migrants to other places in the region in order to be able to process them more quickly. This is to ensure that people would be expelled if they were illegally in the United States. The White House has directed the relevant authorities to work with Haitian and other governments in the region to provide help and support to people when they return, it said.

The desperately poor Caribbean state of Haiti was hit by a severe earthquake in mid-August. More than 2000 people were killed. Shortly before, President Jovenel Moïse had been murdered. Many Haitians had fled to South America after the devastating earthquake in 2010. Observers assume that the economic consequences of the corona pandemic have driven them to flee again. Pictures showed people wading through knee-deep water and setting up makeshift tents in the mud under the bridge that spans the Rio Grande River.


Thousands of people seek shelter under a bridge near Del Rio.
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Image: Adrees Latif / Reuters

Criticism of Biden from all directions

In view of the crisis, there is also clear criticism of the Democratic President Biden. Lozano, the mayor of the 36,000-inhabitant city of Del Rio, is also a Democrat and criticized months ago that it was completely inadequate how the federal government was dealing with the situation on the southern border of the United States. The Democratic MP Ayanna Pressley called on Biden’s government to immediately stop deportation flights to Haiti. Republicans, on the other hand, accuse Biden of too lax policies on the US border with Mexico.

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