WASHINGTON — Haitians deported from the U.S. on Tuesday assaulted the pilots on board one of the flights when it arrived in Port-au-Prince and injured three U.S. immigration officers, according to a source familiar with internal reports of the incident.
Unrest broke out shortly after a flight carrying single adult men arrived and released the men to Haitian authorities on the tarmac. Then, the source said, several of the men stormed another recently arrived flight carrying families.
The men assaulted the pilots of that plane, who work for a government contractor licensed to fly deportation flights for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while the families were still on board. Three ICE officers were also attacked on that plane, each suffering non-life-threatening injuries, the source said.
In a statement, a DHS spokesperson said, “On Tuesday, Sept. 21, some adult migrants caused two separate disruptions on the tarmac after deplaning in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 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.”
The U.S. has been ramping up its deportations of Haitians after more than 15,000 overwhelmed the U.S. border by congregating under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, in just a matter of days. As of Tuesday, just over 1,000 of the Haitian migrants had been deported to Haiti, according to two sources familiar with the operations.
A total of 4,000 have been either deported or moved to other processing centers along the border, the Department of Homeland Security said.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday at a Senate hearing that the crowd in Del Rio will dissipate in the coming days.
“Expect to see dramatic results within the next 48 to 96 hours,” he said.
But after the assaults Tuesday, some inside DHS worry that they do not have enough security at the airports to safely land deportation flights, said the source familiar with the incident.