Border agents on horseback chased down and “rounded up” Haitian immigrants like cattle in Del Rio, Texas on Sunday.
One of the agents was seen swinging a rope to lasso a person wading in the Rio Grande.
More than 15,000 Haitians traveled to the Texas through South America and Mexico. They have been living in squalor amid human waste under the Del Rio International Bridge for a week.
The Department of Homeland Security said 400 agents and police will be in Del Rio, Texas on Monday to process the Haitian migrants for deportation back to Haiti.
Advocacy groups are demanding answers to the disparity in U.S. immigration policy toward the Haitians.
Texas officials are overwhelmed by the surge of mainly Haitian immigrants that swelled from 4,000 to 14,000 in just 2 days last week.
A prevailing theory is that Haitians believe the Biden administration will treat them more kindly than the Trump administration that did everything it could to restrict border crossings.
But DHS officials say the Haitians are not welcome here. One official said the migrants are being deported under Title 42 health protections — due to Covid-19.
“Our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey,” one official said.
But rather than resettle the Haitians in cities across the US – as Biden did with thousands of Mexican and Afghan migrants – the Haitians are being deported back to Haiti before they can apply for asylum.
After arriving in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, the migrants waded across the Rio Grande dam in knee deep water to reach the encampment under the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas.
Prosperous Haitians who paid up to $10,000 to fly to South America from Haiti found themselves living in squalor under the bridge alongside the poorest Haitians.
Their perilous journey ended right back where they started.
The first planeload of nearly 300 refugees landed in Haiti on Sunday.
As they descended the steps, many hid their faces from the cameras and threatened photographers who took their pictures.
One Haitian man said he lived and worked in Chile for years after migrating there when the 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed more than 200,000 people. He only followed the others to Texas when jobs dried up in Chile.
The man said border agents snatched him from under the bridge as he slept in the middle of the night and deported him back to a country he barely knows.
“How could they bring us back here?” he asked. “This is an injustice. I don’t even know where we are going to sleep tonight.
“If Biden continues with these deportations, he’s no better than Trump. I’m afraid for my safety here. I don’t even know this country anymore.”
DHS has told Haiti’s government to expect up to eight flights a day beginning Monday.
Tom Cartwright of the advocacy group Witness at the Border who tracks repatriation flights, said three Coast Guard planes left Texas bound for Haiti on Sunday.