US border agents have begun expelling planeloads of mostly Haitian migrants from a large makeshift camp they had set up on the Texas border with Mexico, with repatriation flights arriving in Haiti on Sunday.
In recent days, more than 15,000 Haitians crossed into the United States from Mexico and found themselves stranded for days in Texas under a bridge spanning the Rio Grande River, blocked from moving onwards.
Washington began sending back members of this group on Sunday, with three flights full of Haitian nationals landing in the capital Port-au-Prince after taking off from Texas hours earlier.
Migrant families sent back to Haiti are angry at their treatment and fearful of returning home to a life punctuated by gang violence.
“[US President Joe] Biden knows well what is happening, but he doesn’t care,” said one woman, tears streaming down her face as she described her time at a US migrant detention facility in Texas.
“He treated us, and our children, worse than animals,” she told the AFP news agency.
Rolin Petit Homme, a 35-year-old Haitian who had camped out under the bridge, said he will now try to eke out a living in Mexico rather than go back home. “There’s no safety in Haiti and there’s no work,” he told Reuters news agency.
The latest migrant surge marks a new challenge for the US authorities, who have sought to reduce the flow of Central Americans and now hundreds of Haitians who have fled rampant poverty, gang violence and seemingly non-stop natural disasters back home.
US authorities have moved 3,300 migrants since Friday from Del Rio, Texas.