DEL RIO, Texas — Federal assault charges will be brought against two Haitian migrants after they bit federal law enforcement officials on board a deportation flight when the plane was taxiing to the runway, the Washington Examiner has learned.
The runway incident is the latest episode in which Haitian migrants who have been deemed inadmissible to the United States after illegally crossing the border have refused to accept their fate, and it is indicative of a growing problem for government and contracted officials tasked with removing this specific population from the country.
On Monday, a flight that was set to depart Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio at 8 a.m. local time was heading toward the runway when it was forced to return to the gate because of a disturbance on the plane. Two of the passengers left their seats and attacked Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations officers.
“[The Haitians] all realized they were going back to Haiti and lost it,” a senior federal law enforcement official familiar with the incident told the Washington Examiner.
Migrants who are on deportation flights are not restrained in their seats except for rare instances in which convicted criminals are allowed, per Federal Aviation Administration policy. Because deportees are not restrained, anyone on board can technically get up and move about the cabin.
The U.S. government was forced to cancel a second deportation flight on Monday at 5 a.m. because Haitian migrants on board were “being disruptive and not complying” while the plane was on the tarmac.
“They were fighting personnel on the plane,” said the first person, adding that the alleged assailants were men.
ICE and Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to requests for comment.