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Haitian migrants continue to flock to Texas border; some flown back to homeland by U.S.

Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Zareal German, 45, who has spent four days at the camp with his wife, who is five months pregnant, said he and other migrants have been denied medical help. Only emergencies were taken to the hospital, he said.

“You see, they don’t care about us,” German said. “Look how we’re living like animals.”

He said he had heard about the deportation flights, but they would not deter him, he said.

“It doesn’t change my mind. I’ve got one thing on my mind: to get to my destination,” he said. He has family in South Florida, he said, where his father recently died, and he came hoping to arrive in time for the funeral Sept. 25.

“To get here, we had to cross 10 countries. We had to spend a lot of money. You become broke,” said Alex Bravener, 25, who lived in Chile and Brazil before arriving here with his wife and 3-year-old daughter last week.

“We know that we come here illegally, but we are human too, like the president. We have children,” he said. “If you’re going to deport us, why did you let us in here? If we’re already here, try to do something for us. The world knows we lost our president. We had our earthquakes.

“You deport us, what will we do in Haití? Some of us have been in another country for years. We don’t even know our family there. How are we going to live? We know America can help us to save our children.”

Haitians have been exempted at times from the pandemic policy known as Title 42 that the Biden administration has used to expel migrants back to Mexico without allowing them to claim asylum. Many of the Haitian migrants had gathered in Mexican border cities southeast of Del Rio in recent months after hearing that families with children were not being expelled to Mexico.

 

Homeland Security announced Saturday that it was accelerating the expulsion flights, although it was not clear how many daily flights Haitian authorities had agreed to receive. Federal officials were also trying to return some Haitians to countries they had passed through on their way to Mexico, such as Brazil and Chile.

Republicans have complained of a crisis on the border for months. In August, the Border Patrol stopped migrants nearly 209,000 times, close to a 20-year high. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has made Del Rio the focus of a campaign to secure the border more tightly, sending scores of state troopers and National Guard troops who have packed local hotels and even pitched a tent camp at the fairgrounds.

This weekend, Abbott tweeted a photo of state troopers’ cars lining the river, blocking migrants.

“The Texas Department of Public Safety is in full force along the border around the Del Rio area,” he wrote. “They have built a barricade with their squad cars and State Troopers. The National Guard is working with them to secure the border.”

The Del Rio mayor thanked Abbott for the deployment in a video posted late Saturday.

“The governor is trying to provide assistance to help ensure the security of the port and to ensure that we don’t have any major mass movement in case anybody or any individuals begin to just flock the port,” Lozano said.

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