Mexico sends 70 Haitian migrants back home by plane

MEXICO CITY, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Mexico’s government sent 70 Haitian migrants back to Haiti on Wednesday in what it described as a “voluntary return” flight, days after the United States cleared thousands of Haitian migrants from a camp at the Mexican border in Del Rio, Texas.

Mexico’s interior and foreign ministries said in a joint statement that the “first group” of migrants – including 13 children – were flown to Port-au-Prince as part of an agreement between Mexican and Haitian authorities to manage a jump in Haitian migrants moving through Mexico to the U.S. border.

Nearly 30,000 migrants were encountered over a two-week period this month in Del Rio, where they had been living in a sprawling, makeshift encampment.

The United States had sent some 4,000 of those people back to Haiti as of Monday, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The expulsions sparked criticism about returning them to a politically unstable country beset by violence and natural disasters.

An estimated 8,000 migrants returned to Mexico, where officials have urged them to follow through with asylum applications in southern Mexico.

The 70 migrants on Wednesday’s flight had been in Mexico City and the states of Hidalgo, Tabasco and the State of Mexico, the government statement said.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Dave Graham and Sandra Maler

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