Thousands of Haitian migrants have begun streaming back across the Rio Grande river to Mexico after the Biden administration said it will step up deportation flights to return them to the Caribbean nation. 

Images show crowds of men, women and children wading into the chest-deep water, some holding their belongings over their heads and others moving hand-to-hand along a yellow rope strung across the waterway near Del Rio, Texas.

Behind them, Border Patrol agents mounted on horseback roam the river bank to stop them from returning to the US. 

The Department of Homeland Security flew more than 300 Haitian migrants to Port-au-Prince on three flights Sunday from San Antonio.

And Haiti said six planes are expected on Tuesday as part of the massive deportation effort to remove the nearly 15,000 Haitian who are camping out under an international bridge in the Texas border town. 

The administration plans to begin seven flights a day by Wednesday, with four going to Port-au-Prince and three to Cap-Haitien.

Haitian migrants continue to cross across the US-Mexico border on the Rio Grande as seen from Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila state, Mexico.
AFP via Getty Images
Migrants seeking asylum in the US grab onto a rope to guide them through the current while crossing the Rio Grande river back into Mexico.
Migrants seeking asylum in the US grab onto a rope to guide them through the current while crossing the Rio Grande river back into Mexico.
REUTERS/Go Nakamura
A migrant seeking asylum in the U.S. holds up a child as he crosses the Rio Grande river into Mexico.
A migrant seeking asylum in the U.S. holds up a child as he crosses the Rio Grande river into Mexico.
Reuters

DHS Secretary Alejando Mayorkas, who has been pleading with the migrants not to travel to the US, arrived in Del Rio Monday afternoon.

Press secretary Jen Psaki echoed Mayorkas’ comments at Monday’s White House briefing. 

“Now is not the time to come,” Psaki said, “because of a range of reasons, including we don’t have the immigration system up and running the way we want, including there is still a pandemic and Title 42 remains in place.”

Six planes are expected as part of the massive deportation effort to remove nearly 15,000 Haitian people who are camping out under the International Bridge.
Six planes are expected as part of the massive deportation effort to remove nearly 15,000 Haitian people who are camping out under the International Bridge.
REUTERS/Go Nakamura
Migrant children seeking asylum in the U.S. grab onto a rope to guide them through the current while crossing the Rio Grande river.
Migrant children seeking asylum in the U.S. grab onto a rope to guide them through the current while crossing the Rio Grande river.
Reuters

She was referring to the regulation started by the Trump administration to refuse entry to any migrants entering illegally to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

A few thousand Haitians arrived at the bridge last week, but the number soon ballooned to nearly 15,000, forcing the administration to close an entry point, reroute traffic, deploy more Border Patrol agents and begin the deportation flights.

Many of them have trekked to the US from countries in South America where they had been living since an earthquake in 2010.

Migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. use a rope to cross the Rio Grande river back into Acuna.
The Department of Homeland Security flew more than 300 Haitian migrants from San Antonio, Texas to Port-au-Prince on September, 19.
REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Others have fled Haiti since another devastating earthquake last month and political unrest caused by the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise in his home the month before.

But many Haitians don’t want to return because of the political turmoil there.

Psaki was asked what the migrants can expect when they are returned to the poverty-stricken country.

Haitian migrants board a chartered airplane at San Antonio International Airport, on September 20, 2021.
Haitian migrants board a chartered airplane at San Antonio International Airport, on September 20, 2021.
AP/Darren Abate

“I will say that our objective and our focus is not only in implementing current immigration policies, we have also been working to provide a range of assistance, working closely with officials from the government as individuals are going back to Haiti to provide a range of financial assistance to provide a range of technical assistance. That is ongoing,” Psaki said. 

“And we certainly support and want to be good actors in supporting Haiti during a very difficult time, as you noted with a government that is still working to get back to a point of stability with recovery from an earthquake, and that’s why we have a range of programs, options, as well as financial support in place,” she said.

With Post wires

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By James Carter

A Senior writer & Editor, James is a postgraduate in biotechnology and has an immense interest in following news developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. He is responsible for handling the office staff writers and providing them with the latest updates happenings in the world. He writes for almost all sections of Editorials 24.