Haitians highjack bus heading for airport

AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Thanks to favorable coverage from the press, plenty of public sympathy has been generated for the mass of Haitian illegal migrants huddling under an overpass in Del Rio, Texas. Of course, there are far fewer of them today, now that we’ve learned that thousands of them have simply been released into the interior of the United States rather than being flown out immediately as the public was promised. But some of them are still being shipped to a couple of airports for deportation, generally by bus. That process grew a bit more complicated and dangerous yesterday, however, when a group of Haitians briefly hijacked the bus they were put on. (NY Post)

A group of Haitian migrants who were being bused to San Antonio to be flown back to their country of origin briefly took control of the vehicle Monday before making a break for it, according to the Washington Examiner.

The Examiner report, which cited two federal law enforcement officials, added that the escapees were eventually recaptured. It was not immediately clear how many initially escaped.

An ICE spokesperson told KEVO there were no injuries in connection with the incident. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.

I don’t know who’s in charge of this operation down in Del Rio, but this story should raise some obvious questions about how things are being run. Thankfully, no injuries were reported over the course of the hijacking and the migrants who fled the scene were eventually recaptured. But neither ICE nor DHS are responding to questions from reporters at this point beyond repeating the same talking points we’ve been hearing since the weekend.

It should be a safe assumption that once a migrant is taken into custody by CBP they are searched for weapons, right? So how did these people manage to hijack the bus? Perhaps I’m assuming too much here, but it seems logical that there should be at least one law enforcement or border security agent on the bus with them who is armed. After all, these people are technically in custody and being taken to a place they presumably don’t want to go. (The airport where they are to be flown back home.) You would have to be prepared for the possibility that some of them might seek to escape if nothing else.

If you put a driver on that bus with no backup, he or she would be very much outnumbered and probably unable to do much to defend themself at least until they could pull the bus over. So was there no armed guard on the bus? Or if there was a guard, I suppose they could have been overwhelmed by sheer numbers if they were unwilling to shoot any unarmed migrants who rushed them, but that still sounds like an unlikely scenario. You’d have to find one or two people who were willing to be at the front of the pack when rushing a person with a weapon.

Meanwhile, we’re learning that the closing of the international bridge at Del Rio is having a significant, negative effect on businesses in the area. The small town relies on tourism dollars from shoppers coming over the border from Mexico, but the next nearest crossing (Eagle Pass) is more than an hour away by automobile. Further, there are employees of local businesses who live across the border in Ciudad Acuña and commute to Del Rio. That normally brief trip is now taking some of them up to seven hours.

Before the Del Rio bridge’s closure, immigration officials had already closed off access to Mexican citizens, unless they were essential workers, because of the pandemic. This cut off tourists, which Del Rio’s economy depends on. Now, with the bridge closed all together, it will continue to have a negative impact on the city’s budget because city officials collected a toll there, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano said on Tuesday.

”We’re losing money every hour that it’s closed,” Lozano said. “That’s our bread and butter.”

​​Lozano added that he was told by federal officials that they will assess if the bridge can open in at least 48 hours.

Assuming this situation is ever resolved entirely and traffic at the border returns to normal, there really needs to be an investigation into how all of this began. You can’t tell me that all of those people specifically from Haiti just accidentally decided to show up by the thousands at one of the smallest, least frequently used border crossings in Texas. This just smells like a well-organized caravan situation that was planned well in advance by someone. Perhaps they thought that Del Rio would be one of the easiest crossings to overwhelm. It might be instructional to find out who was behind it.