Mexican Authorities Begin Transporting Haitians From US Border

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
September 21, 2021 Updated: September 21, 2021

Mexican authorities on Tuesday began removing Haitians away from the U.S. border on prepared flights and buses, assisting the United States in its large-scale expulsion efforts, authorities said.

Thousands of Haitians who had amassed under and near a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, about 60 miles northwest of Piedras Negras and Eagle Pass, in recent days, faced a ramped-up U.S. expulsion effort, with more than 6,500 from the area removed by Monday.

While others moved across the Rio Grande to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, to consider their options, Mexico said it would begin flights of its own. The Mexican government said it had planned to start deporting migrants, primarily Haitians, on Sept. 21, Piedras Negras Mayor Claudio Bres told Mexican news outlet Zocalo on Sept. 20.

The removal transport appeared aimed at reducing the concentration around the camps, according to Reuters.

A crew member with the newswire witnessed an incident in which several migrants protested as they were rounded up by Mexican agents and loaded onto a National Immigration Institute (INM) van. The Epoch Times has contacted INM for comment.

According to the El Paso Times, Haitian migrants in Ciudad Acuña were on Monday and early Tuesday rounded up by local police, Coahuila state investigative agents, Mexico’s federal immigration agency, and the National Guard, and put into INM vans.

Mexico Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard in a press briefing on Tuesday said that he and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had held discussions on the “significant, notable recent flow of Haitian nationals that are coming from Brazil and Chile, not Haiti.”

Ebrard said that Haitians were receiving misinformation about opportunities available in the United States.

“They aren’t asking for refugee status in Mexico, except a small percentage of them,” the minister said. “They are basically asking for the freedom to travel to the United States.”

Ebrard explained that after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on July 29 extended permission to Haitian nationals residing in the United States to apply for Temporary Protected Status, “people in the Haitian network told their people in Brazil and Chile, ‘you need to go to the United States quickly.”

“They are tricking them,” he said.

Biden has presided over what is on track to be the worst border crisis in recorded history, in terms of the number of immigrants who have entered the United States illegally and have been encountered by U.S. agents and officers. The number topped 200,000 in both July and August.

The White House is facing growing bipartisan criticism for its handling of the influx at the border. Meanwhile, images widely circulated on social media on Monday of a Border Patrol agent on horseback using his reins to threaten Haitian migrants along the southern border have prompted outrage.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in an interview with CNN said he was “horrified” by the images.

“Any mistreatment or abuse of a migrant is unacceptable,” Mayorkas said. “The pictures that I’ve observed troubled me profoundly.”

The incident is under investigation by Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility, according to a DHS statement.

Human Rights Watch in a statement said that the U.S. deployment of border agents on horseback against Haitian migrants “stems from abusive and racially discriminatory immigration policies by the administration of President Joe Biden.”

“This violent treatment of Haitians at the border is just the latest example of racially discriminatory, abusive, and illegal U.S. border policies that are returning people to harm and humanitarian disaster,” said Alison Parker, U.S. managing director at Human Rights Watch.

Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.