Illegal Haitian immigrants being deported from the US bit Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on board a plane that was preparing to take off from a US Air Force base in Texas, according to a report Wednesday.
The incident was reportedly among at least three this week in which Haitians busted for sneaking into the US from Mexico became violent after being put on flights home.
Two unidentified men got out of their seats on a plane that was taxiing toward a runway at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, Texas — where as many as 15,000 illegal Haitian migrants had massed over the past week — and attacked ICE officers who were bitten amid the chaos around 8 a.m. Monday, the Washington Examiner reported.
“[The Haitians] all realized they were going back to Haiti and lost it,” a senior federal law enforcement official familiar with the incident reportedly said.
The plane returned to the gate and the men were taken into custody pending prosecution on federal assault charges, the Examiner said.
The incident followed another one earlier Monday, when a 5 a.m. flight to Haiti had to be canceled because captured migrants awaiting deportation were “being disruptive and not complying” while the plane was preparing to take off.
“They were fighting personnel on the plane,” a source said of the unidentified male assailants.
Deportees generally can’t be restrained during flights under Federal Aviation Administration rules, the Examiner said.
Meanwhile, a group of male migrants who were turned over to local authorities at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, broke free and stormed onto another plane that had recently arrived on Tuesday, NBC News reported.
The plane’s pilots, who work for a US government contractor, and three ICE agents were assaulted during that incident, which took place while migrant families were still on board, NBC said, citing a source familiar with the matter.
As many as 14,000 Haitian migrants were gathered under and around the Del Rio International Bridge this past weekend, overwhelming the ability of immigration authorities to deal with them, The Associated Press has reported.
Those taken into custody have been freed on a “very, very large scale” — likely in the thousands — with many getting notices to appear at immigration offices within 60 days, an official told AP.
Some have been put on buses to El Paso, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley, while others are being flown to Tucson, Ariz., AP said.