Biden admin. ramps up deportation flights after migrant encampment at border swells to over 15,000

A Texas State Trooper gestures near a group of illegal immigrants, many from Haiti, next to the Rio Grande near the Del Rio-Acuna Port of Entry in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 18, 2021. - The United States said on Sept. 18 that it would ramp up deportation flights for thousands of illegal immigrants who flooded into the Texas border city of Del Rio, as authorities scramble to alleviate a burgeoning crisis under President Joe Biden's administration. The illegal immigrants who poured into the city, many of them Haitian, were being held in an area controlled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection beneath the Del Rio International Bridge, which carries traffic across the Rio Grande river into Mexico. | PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration said thousands of migrants gathered under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, will be deported to their home country under a Trump-era pandemic health measure, but it will only apply to single men as family units will be allowed to enter the U.S. 

Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin reported that "U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz says there are currently 12,600 [migrants still] under the bridge in Del Rio."

"Single adult men will be expelled via Title 42, but most family units will be processed and released into [the] U.S. [with a] notice to appear," he added in a post on Twitter. 

A majority of migrants being held under an international bridge bordering Mexico are Haitian, but many others are from Venezuela, Cuba and multiple African countries. 

The Department of Homeland Security on Sunday started repatriation flights, with Haitian migrants being flown from San Antonio to Port-au-Prince. 

As of Thursday, about 9,000 migrants were in the area, but the number increased to over 14,000 by Saturday, The Epoch Times reported. By Sunday, the numbers had surpassed 15,000. 

Officials are relocating the migrants to processing locations to accelerate the deportation process. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it planned to send 400 agents and officers to Del Rio to assist with processing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Rep. Tony Gonzalez, R-Texas, who represents the state’s 23rd Congressional District that includes Del Rio, said Saturday that the border crisis is causing a shortage of food in local grocery stores, The Daily Wire reported.

“Border patrol agents are doing everything they can but it’s clear they need more support and they need it NOW,” Gonzalez wrote on Twitter. “DHS is also working to increase and accelerate repatriation flights to return migrants to their country of origin. This includes Haitians & Central Americans. There will be a surge of 8 ICE flights this coming week, up from 2-5 flights before, with more flights to come,” he added.

Gonzalez also wrote that the Biden administration is still using the pandemic health measure, known as Title 42, to expel some migrants “but others will be released in the U.S. while awaiting immigration proceedings.”

He added, “This policy is disastrous & I’ll continue to push to resume Remain in Mexico so migrants no longer have an incentive to be released in the U.S.”

The Remain in Mexico policy dealt with a surge in illegal immigration by requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their court hearings in the United States. Biden reversed the policy on his first day in office on Jan. 20.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday gave clearance to Fox News to document the surge of illegal immigration in Del Rio, just as the network has done in the past.

At the behest of the Biden administration, the FAA had implemented two-week temporary flight restrictions over the International Bridge in Del Rio for a “special security reason.”

The restrictions, which had the temporary effect of blocking the Fox News drone from entering the airspace above the Del Rio International Bridge, sparked outrage and allegations of censorship by the Biden administration.

Haitians have been migrating to South American countries for jobs for years and after the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in those countries, they are seeking to enter the U.S. Many migrants believe that the Biden administration will let them in.

The surge of migrants in Del Rio comes as CBT reported 208,887 encounters between law enforcement officials and illegal immigrants at the southwest border in August.

While the number of encounters dropped slightly from July to August, more than 1.5 million people have crossed the border illegally in the fiscal year 2021, with the fiscal year 2022 set to begin on Oct. 1.

Critics of the Biden administration attribute the astronomical number of border crossings to the reversal of Trump-era policies designed to curb illegal immigration.

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