Del Rio, TX – Haitian migrants have bitten and attacked multiple U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers this week as authorities have tried to deport the illegal immigrants back to their own country.
On Monday, a group of single, male, Haitian migrants who had been deemed inadmissible to the United States were taken to Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio and put on a deportation flight back to Port-au-Prince, the Washington Examiner reported.
Migrants who are being deported aren’t restrained in their seats and are able to get up and move about the cabin like normal passengers.
But when the passengers on this flight realized they were being sent back to Haiti, chaos and violence erupted, the Washington Examiner reported.
“[The Haitians] all realized they were going back to Haiti and lost it,” a senior federal law enforcement official told the newspaper. “They were fighting personnel on the plane.”
Haitian passengers left their seats and attacked ICE officers who were on board the flight when the plane started to taxi towards the runway, the Washington Examiner reported.
Two of the Haitian migrants bit ICE officers.
Pilots had to turn the plane around and return to the tarmac because they were unable to safely depart with the melee happening in the cabin.
Both of the Haitian migrants who bit ICE officers are now facing federal charges, the Washington Examiner reported.
A second deportation flight scheduled for Sept. 20 also had to be cancelled because the passengers were “being disruptive and not complying” before the plane had even left the tarmac.
But for the flights full of deportees that did manage to take off and return planeloads of would-be undocumented immigrants to Haiti on Tuesday, violence erupted at the Port-au-Prince airport, NBC News reported.
Three ICE officers were injured when a flight carrying only single adult male migrants landed in Haiti on Sept. 21.
The men on that flight were turned over to Haitian authorities on the tarmac, but then sources told NBC News that several of them rushed another flight that had just arrived carrying deported families.
They stormed the plane and assaulted the pilots, who are contractors that work for ICE.
The newly-deported Haitians also attacked three ICE officers on the plane, injuring all of them, NBC News reported.
The extent of the injuries aren’t clear, but sources said none of the federal officers’ injuries were life-threatening.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a statement about the incidents that failed to acknowledge the attacks on the U.S. law enforcement officers, NBC News reported.
“On Tuesday, Sept. 21, some adult migrants caused two separate disruptions on the tarmac after deplaning in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,” DHS said. “Haitian crowd control officers responded to both incidents and resolved the situations. ICE fully respects the rights of all people to peacefully express their opinions, while continuing to perform its immigration enforcement mission consistent with our priorities, federal law and agency policy.”
More than 15,000 Haitian migrants have overwhelmed the border crossing at Del Rio, NBC News reported.
However, only about 1,000 have been deported from the United States back to Haiti so far.
The rest of the 4,000 undocumented Haitian immigrants that have been processed so far have been sent to other processing centers along the border, NBC News reported.
Attacks on federal officers have been increasing as officials try to deal with the crisis at the border.
Kleberg County Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick said that on Monday afternoon, a group of Haitian migrants who were being transported from Del Rio to Brownsville began fighting with border patrol agents on the bus in an effort to escape, KIII reported.
The incident occurred at about 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 when the bus was about 25 miles south of Kingsville on Highway 77.
The Haitian migrants, who had illegally crossed the U.S. border and were being transported to a processing point, overwhelmed the agents and escaped, KIII reported.
“Well, I believe in an attempt to abscond into the brush or leave the area, these individuals were able to assault federal agents on the bus in an attempt to escape,” Sheriff Kirkpatrick explained. “I think he was at that point where the driver was able to pull over, that’s when they were able to get and force the door open and abscond off the bus.”
The agents called for assistance and Kleberg County sheriff’s deputies were among the law enforcement officers who responded to the scene, KIII reported.
Sheriff Kirkpatrick said law enforcement officers from multiple jurisdictions worked together to chase and round up the escaped undocumented immigrants and put them onto another transport bus.
“Nevertheless, this is just a continued case in point of an extremely volatile situation that is getting out of control,” the sheriff said. “As we go forward with this type of continuing thing as the border crisis unfolds.”