The United States government has begun deporting hundreds of Haitian migrants who camped out under a bridge in Texas near the border with Mexico as it looks to contain a surge there in recent days.
More than 320 migrants arrived in Port-au-Prince on three flights from the U.S. on Sunday, The Associated Press reported early Monday, with a half-dozen more flights expected this week.
U.S. Border Patrol officials said over the weekend they are aiming to deport most of the estimated 12,000 migrants who have taken shelter under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.
Many of the migrants have been under the bridge for days, struggling to survive in squalid conditions and without much food or water. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it would send 400 additional officers to improve control of the area, The Hill reported on Saturday.
“We need food for every day. I can go without, but my kids can’t,” a migrant named Charlie Jean told the AP.
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said during a news conference on Sunday the agency was "working around the clock to expeditiously move migrants out of the heat, elements and from underneath this bridge to our processing facilities in order to quickly process and remove individuals from the United States consistent with our laws and our policies."
Haiti has been struggling with extreme poverty after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit earlier this year.
“In Haiti, there is no security,” migrant Fabricio Jean told the AP. “The country is in a political crisis.”