The Department of Homeland Security announced Saturday that it is implementing a new strategy to accelerate deportation flights for Haitian migrants residing in South Texas.
The department said in a statement that it plans to "secure additional transportation to accelerate the pace and increase the capacity of removal flights to Haiti and other destinations in the hemisphere within the next 72 hours."
The increased flights are part of a six-part plan to combat the immigration problem in Del Rio, Texas that includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection surging 400 agents and officers to the area, coordinating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard to relocate migrants from Del Rio to other processing locations, working with nearby countries to accept their prior residents, undertaking humanitarian aid to reduce crowding, and coordinating with regional governments to ensure assistance and support for returnees.
"The Biden Administration has reiterated that our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey. Individuals and families are subject to border restrictions, including expulsion," the statement read. "Irregular migration poses a significant threat to the health and welfare of border communities and to the lives of migrants themselves, and should not be attempted."
It is not clear how many deportation flights would occur each day.
Thousands of Haitian migrants have illegally crossed the southern border and have been gathering around a bridge as they await U.S. officials for processing. Many more migrants were seen traveling to the border Saturday morning in a video from Bill Melugin of Fox News.
BREAKING: I am absolutely stunned by what I’m witnessing right now. We are on a boat in the Rio Grande near the Del Rio international bridge and we are watching as masses of hundreds of migrants walk across the river from Mexico and stream into the US illegally. @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/xXE4pDkpIe— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) September 18, 2021
CBP ordered the closure of the Del Rio crossing Friday to reduce the number of immigrants flowing into the country. Those attempting to cross the border have been sent to Eagle Pass, Texas, nearly 60 miles away.
And while Mexico has said they would accept immigrants turned away by the U.S. if they are from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador, Haitian migrants are out of luck.
CBP reported nearly 209,000 migrant encounters along the southern border during the month of August.