The expulsion from Mexico resulted in the expulsion of thousands of Haitian asylum seekers from the United States, leading to widespread criticism.
Mexico has sent a team of 70 Haitian migrants, including 13 children, on a plane to Port-au-Prince, which the government says is part of an “assisted voluntary return” to Haiti.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, Mexico’s Interior and Foreign Ministries said the flight was operated as part of an agreement between Mexico and Haitian authorities to increase the number of Haitian asylum seekers heading to the United States via Mexico.
The ministry added that the migrants were in Mexico City and the nearby states of Mexico, as well as the states of Hidalgo and Tabasco.
A group of more than 1,000,000 migrants, most of them Haitians, crossed the Rio Grande River from Mexico to Del Rio, Texas, where they set up a makeshift camp under a bridge.
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told CNN on Wednesday that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden had expelled more than 100 Haitian asylum seekers on flights.
A few thousand more remain in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol custody, where most are awaiting deportation.
The expulsion has drawn widespread condemnation from immigration supporters as well as members of Biden’s own Democratic Party, who argue that asylum seekers should not be forced to return to politically unstable countries plagued by violence and natural disasters.
Human rights groups and a top UN expert have warned that expulsions could violate international law.
Most of the refugees were deported under “Title 2”, a provision called for by former President Donald Trump citing the coronavirus epidemic as a reason to prevent asylum seekers from seeking protection at the country’s borders.
An estimated 1,000,000 asylum seekers have returned to Mexico from the United States in fear of deportation to Haiti, where officials have called for their asylum applications in the south to be followed.
Thousands more have gathered in the border town of Tapachula in Guatemala, but many have been waiting months for a response to their asylum application.
Mexico’s national refugee agency is battling growing demand that has overwhelmed its capacity. The Reuters news agency reported Tuesday that about a thousand migrants went to a sports stadium in Tapachula to book an appointment for asylum.
Chenet, 38, a Haitian asylum seeker who did not give his last name to Reuters, said he paid someone in Tapachula 6,000 pesos (300 300) to guarantee an appointment, not realizing it was a hoax.
“They say there’s nothing now, no appointments,” he said.
Mexico’s Refugee Assistance Commission (COMAR) says people have made appointments by October 20 and those who do not verify their appointments before Thursday will lose their seats.
A representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told people standing in a line across the parking lot of the stadium that the appointment verification process would make room for others.
The Haidians are second only to Honduran in applying for asylum in Mexico this year.