A taxi driver in the Mexican city of Ciudad Acuña was hit with a $900 fine by the country’s police for driving a Haitian migrant toward the U.S. border, the Associated Press reported, according to Newsweek.
The punishment imposed on the driver comes in the wake of efforts being made by the Mexican government to urge local businesses to cease helping migrants to travel to the north of the country. The North American country’s police have also been working to mitigate the influx of migrants in border towns.
The taxi driver, identified as Eliseo Ortiz, said he’ll no longer be rendering services to Haitian migrants following the fine. “They accused me of being an immigrant trafficker,” Ortiz said about the fine he received three months ago.
But despite the risk of punishment, Ortiz said other drivers were still driving would-be Haitian migrants, adding that they were bribing police officers to facilitate that. As many as 13,000 mainly Haitian migrants were camped under a bridge connecting Del Rio to Mexico’s Ciudad Acuña on the US-Mexico border, Face2Face Africa reported last week.
But the Department of Home Security said around 4,000 asylum seekers had either been deported or transported to processing centers, BBC reported. Responding to the huge influx of Haitian migrants at the border, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters the migrants have been wrongly told that they will be able to stay in the United States as refugees under “temporary protected status” (TPS) amid the political chaos in the country.
“We are very concerned that Haitians who are taking this irregular migration path are receiving false information that the border is open, or that temporary protected status is available,” Mayorkas said.
“We have reiterated that our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey,” he said. “If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned.”
After the massive earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, TPS was announced for Haitians who were stuck in the United States. And following the assassination of Haiti President Jovenel Moise on July 7, the Biden administration extended TPS for Haitians who were in the country on or before July 29.
Meanwhile, officials in Mexico have also been transporting Haitian migrants on their side of the border to the country’s south, while they’re also making arrangements to deport others back to the Caribbean nation.