US deports 3300 migrants out of Texas

US authorities have deported more than 3000 migrants from Del Rio, Texas, with more to come.
US authorities have deported more than 3000 migrants from Del Rio, Texas, with more to come.

US authorities have moved 3300 migrants in the past two days from a Texas border city where thousands of mostly Haitians had gathered under a bridge after crossing the Rio Grande river from Mexico.

Some of the migrants were seen arriving later in Haiti.

"Over the next six to seven days our goal is to process the 12,662 migrants that we have underneath that bridge as quickly as we possibly can," US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said during a press conference on Sunday in Del Rio, Texas.

He said the US was working with the home countries or countries through which the migrants had transited to get them to accept those who had been awaiting immigration processing under the bridge that links Del Rio with Ciudad Acuna in Mexico.

Migrants were continuing to cross the river despite the threat of being sent back and heightened security on the US side that on Sunday included law enforcement agents on horseback, one of whom was seen swinging a rope at a person wading in the Rio Grande.

Officials on both sides of the border have said most of the migrants were from Haiti. Many of the Haitians Reuters has spoken to said they had been in South America before heading north more recently because they could not attain legal status or struggled with racism and securing decent jobs.

DHS had announced on Saturday that it was accelerating expulsions to Haiti, sending more border agents to the area, and taking other steps to address the situation in Del Rio, where conditions under the bridge have grown increasingly squalid.

After US law enforcement on Sunday told Haitians that they could no longer go back and forth to Mexico for supplies at the shallow crossing point they had used in earlier days, the migrants flocked to a different stretch of the river.

For hours, hundreds of migrants crossed from the US into Mexico, with some telling Reuters they needed food and water for their families because there were few supplies at the encampment below the bridge.

Around midday on Sunday, mounted officers, some wearing vests emblazoned with the words "police US border patrol," galloped to block the path of migrants scrambled up the US bank carrying plastic bags and cardboard boxes of food.

One officer swung a rope like a lasso close to the face of a migrant in the water, Reuters images showed. The US officers then strung yellow tape across that section of the bank. Migrants proceeded to cross at a deeper point.

A sweeping US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public health order known as Title 42, issued under the Trump administration at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, allows most migrants to be quickly expelled without a chance of claiming asylum.

President Joe Biden has kept that rule in place though he exempted unaccompanied minors and his administration has not been expelling most families. Biden had promised a more humane immigration approach than that of his predecessor Donald Trump.

A judge ruled Thursday the policy could not be applied to families, but the ruling does not go into effect for two weeks and the Biden administration has appealed.

Australian Associated Press