DEL RIO, Texas — More migrants were moved from beneath the Del Rio International Bridge on Sunday. Those migrants, who have been dealing with triple-digit temperatures and a lack of food and water, are now being taken back to their homeland to try to prevent others from crossing the border from Mexico.
This may be the beginning of one of America’s swiftest, large scale expulsions of migrants or refugees in decades, as local officials in Del Rio dealing with what they call a humanitarian crisis.
The Department of Homeland Security held a press conference Monday.
DHS Secretary Mayorkas said approximately 6,500 migrants have been processed in the last two days alone.
"We are working to increase the capacity of return flights to Haiti and other destinations," Mayorkas said. "We anticipate at least one to three flights per day."
Monday, two planes could be seen at the San Antonio International Airport preparing to take a group of migrants to Haiti, according to Flight Aware.
Mayorkas said several federal, state and local partners were working together to accommodate the needs of the migrants such as medical technicians, meals and other supplies.
Officials also brought attention to the possible spread of misinformation surrounding migrating to the U.S.
"We are very concerned that Haitians that are taking this very irregular migration path are receiving false information that the border is open or that temporary protective status is available," Mayorkas said. "I want to make sure that it is known that this is not the way to come to the United States. That is false information."
Mayorkas said only Haitians living in the U.S. before July 29 are eligible for temporary protected status.
Nearly 12,000 migrants still remain camped underneath the Del Rio International Bridge.
"It's hot. It's dry. We're also prone to weather phenomena here," Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano said.
"We are providing food, water, portable toilets, towels. Emergency medical technicians are available first aid if someone needs medical care beyond what our employees can provide," Chief of U.S. Border Patrol, Raul L. Ortiz, said.
Now, however, Lozano says they’ve been met with some relief, as 3,300 migrants were moved from the bridge. Some have been moved to be processed in cities like Eagle Pass and Laredo, while two flights carrying 145 migrants each were sent back to Haiti early Sunday morning.
"The word is going to quickly spread that Haitians are being sent back to home country," Lozano said.
The port of entry in Del Rio remains closed, and traffic is being rerouted to eagle pass to keep traffic and travel moving.
"I do feel that it is having an impact," Lozano said. "And that's what they're trying to resolve the issue as best as they can by mitigating migrants from crossing over at the points there.
The Department of Homeland Security said on Sunday not a single person tried to cross over to the Del Rio Port of Entry overnight.
"This is what I've been warning the administration since January of this year, that if they don't take certain actions and they give the impression that the borders open, then people are going to come in," U.S. Representative for District 28 (D), Henry Cuellar, said.
Cuellar said migrants need to be transported back to their country of origin as soon as possible.
"Because if you don't send that message, then we're going to be talking about this border for the next three or four years," Cuellar said.