DEL RIO, Texas — The U.S. has begun flying Haitians who were camped in a Texas border town back to their homeland and trying to block others from crossing the border from Mexico.
It's a massive show of force that signals the beginning of what could be one of America's swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants or refugees in decades.
Three flights with 145 passengers each arrived in Port-au-Prince, and Haiti said six flights were expected on Tuesday.
In all, U.S. authorities moved to expel many of the more 12,000 migrants camped around a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.
The Haitian migrants have been dealing with scorching temperatures and a lack of food and water, KENS-TV in San Antonio reports.
The migrants were seeking refuge in the U.S. from rampant poverty, gang violence and a string of natural disasters.
In August, the island suffered a massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake that killed thousands of people and caused catastrophic damage. Days later, Tropical Storm Grace swept over the island, hampering rescue efforts and causing more issues to infrastructure.
"There's no safety in Haiti, and there's no work," Rolin Petit Homme, a 35-year old Haitian who had camped out under the bridge, told CNBC. He said he planned to stay in Mexico.