US Increases Haitian Migrant Deportation Flights from Texas

The United States on Wednesday (22/9) stepped up flights deporting Haitian migrants from the state of Texas to Haiti, even though thousands of other Haitians were released into the US on promises of being present at immigration offices within 60 days.

It was not immediately clear why US officials sent some of the roughly 14,000 Haitians, who in recent days flocked from Mexico to the Texas border town of Del Rio, back to the Caribbean nation. This deportation is carried out while other citizens are registered and released to live on US soil, at least for weeks.

Thousands of Haitian migrants have been released into the US in recent days, the Associated Press news agency reported, while Mouab reported hundreds had been released.

Many of the migrants had previously lived in Chile, Brazil and other South American countries after fleeing the devastation of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. But they walked to the US border after irresponsible social media accounts said the border at Del Rio was opened, despite US officials repeatedly urging migrants to stay where they lived.

The US planned as many as five deportation flights on Wednesday, with 135 migrants on each flight, to Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, and Haiti’s second largest city, Cap-Haitien. Seven flights are set for Thursday.

Since Sunday, more than 1,000 migrants have been sent back to Haiti, where many have not lived there for a decade.

The deportation policy has drawn criticism from immigration activists who say migrants should be allowed to file asylum claims to stay in the US. [my/ka]

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