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Homeland Security chief defends expulsion of Haitians from Texas; hundreds being processed in El Paso

DEL RIO, Texas — More than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants have been removed from an encampment at the Texas border town of Del Rio, U.S. officials said Monday as they defended a strong response that included immediately expelling migrants to their impoverished Caribbean country and using horse patrols to stop them from entering the town.

Calling it a “challenging and heartbreaking situation,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a stark warning: “If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life.”

More than 320 migrants arrived in Port-au-Prince on three flights Sunday, and Haiti said six flights were expected Tuesday. The U.S. plans to begin seven expulsion flights daily on Wednesday, four to Port-au-Prince and three to Cap-Haitien, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Flights will continue to depart from San Antonio and El Paso, officials said.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego told ABC-7 on Monday afternoon that about 1,500 Haitian migrants had arrived in El Paso from Del Rio since Friday - and about 500 more would be arriving daily - for processing before being flown back to Haiti from El Paso International Airport.

Meanwhile, Mayorkas and U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said they would look into agents on horseback using what appeared to be whips and their horses to push back migrants at the river between Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, and Del Rio, where thousands of migrants remain camped around a bridge.

Both officials said they saw nothing apparently wrong based on the widely seen photos and video. Mayorkas said agents use long reins, not whips, to control their horses. Ortiz, the former chief of the Del Rio sector, said it can be confusing to distinguish between migrants and smugglers as people moved back and forth near the river. The chief said he would investigate to make sure there was no “unacceptable” actions by the agents.

(U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback try to stop Haitian migrants from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas. Photo credit: Getty Images via CNN)

Mayorkas said 600 Homeland Security employees, including from the Coast Guard, have been brought to Del Rio, a city of about 35,000 people roughly 145 miles west of San Antonio. He said he has asked the Defense Department for help in what may be one of the swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants and refugees from the United States in decades.

He also said the U.S. would increase the pace and capacity of flights to Haiti and other countries in the hemisphere. The number of migrants at the bridge peaked at 14,872 on Saturday, said Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a labor union that represents agents.

“We’re achieving our goals; we’re getting there and getting to a point where we can manage the population here,” said Ortiz, who blamed the surge on smugglers who spread misinformation. “We are already seeing a quickly diminished (population) and will continue to see that over the coming days.”

Mexico also said it would expel Haitian migrants, and began busing them from Ciudad Acuña Sunday evening, according to Luis Angel Urraza, president of the local chamber of commerce. He said he saw the first two buses leave from in front of his restaurant with about 90 people aboard.

“There isn’t room for them in the city anymore; we can’t help them anymore,” he said.

Mexico’s immigration agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But a federal official told The Associated Press on Sunday that the plan was to take the migrants to Monterrey, in northern Mexico, and Tapachula, in the south, with flights to Haiti from those cities to begin in coming days.

The rapid expulsions were made possible by a pandemic-related authority adopted by former President Donald Trump in March 2020 that allows for migrants to be immediately removed from the country without an opportunity to seek asylum. President Joe Biden exempted unaccompanied children from the order but let the rest stand.

Any Haitians not expelled are subject to immigration laws, which include rights to seek asylum and other forms of humanitarian protection. Families are quickly released in the U.S. because the government cannot generally hold children.

The only obvious parallel for such an expulsion without an opportunity to seek asylum was in 1992 when the Coast Guard intercepted Haitian refugees at sea, said Yael Schacher, senior U.S. advocate at Refugees International whose doctoral studies focused on the history of U.S. asylum law.

Similarly large numbers of Mexicans have been sent home during peak years of immigration but over land and not so suddenly.

Central Americans have also crossed the border in comparable numbers without being subject to mass expulsion, although Mexico has agreed to accept them from the U.S. under pandemic-related authority in effect since March 2020. Mexico does not accept expelled Haitians or people of other nationalities outside of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

In Mexico, local authorities of border municipalities have asked for help from state and federal authorities. Claudio Bres, the mayor in Piedras Negras, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Ciudad Acuña, told local media that the official agreement is to turn back all the buses with migrants to prevent them from reaching the border. He said that last weekend around 70 buses passed through his town.

Haitians have been migrating to the U.S. in large numbers from South America for several years, many having left their Caribbean nation after a devastating 2010 earthquake. After jobs dried up from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, many made the dangerous trek by foot, bus and car to the U.S. border, including through the infamous Darien Gap, a Panamanian jungle.

Some of the migrants at the Del Rio camp said the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse make them afraid to return to a country that seems more unstable than when they left.

“In Haiti, there is no security,” said Fabricio Jean, a 38-year-old Haitian who arrived in Texas with his wife and two daughters. “The country is in a political crisis.”

But Mayorkas defended his recent decision to grant Haitians temporary legal status due to political and civil strife in their homeland if they were in the United States on July 29, but not to those being sent back now.

“We made an assessment based on the country conditions ... that Haiti could in fact receive individuals safely,” he said.

Six flights were scheduled in Haiti on Tuesday — three in Port-au-Prince and three in the northern city of Cap-Haitien, said Jean Négot Bonheur Delva, Haiti’s migration director.

Some migrants said they were planning to leave Haiti again as soon as possible. Valeria Ternission, 29, said she and her husband want to travel with their 4-year-old son back to Chile, where she worked as a bakery’s cashier.

“I am truly worried, especially for the child,” she said. “I can’t do anything here.”

KVIA ABC-7

ABC News

Associated Press

Comments

38 Comments

    1. It’s Char Lie Dumbo. But in your warped mind it’s OK for Mexicans and others from Central America to come here illegally and not get deported. HYPOCRITE! If Trump deported the Haitians you would be screaming foul.

        1. If you get a brain charliar you would know that these Haitians did not come from Haiti. They’ve been leaving all over South America since their last devastating earthquake and when Joe Crow biden opened the gates, here they come. Why send them to Haite when they made their lives in Peru, El Salvador, Brazil etc. etc. etc?

          1. Just as I thought. You know Biden didn’t invite anyone to come here illegally. Asylum seekers are here legally you moron. Trumps policies were anti-American and all of them had to be rescinded.

        1. I answered it days ago but you never listen to facts. Here we go again. During the primary he said he would not enforce US immigration laws and would not secure the border. After he was placed he promised free medical care to illegals.

          1. Add from the gold star parents of the 13 marines/soldiers murdered in Afghanistan “Biden is a p.o.s.”

        2. Char Lie Dumbo is so daft. Stop watching fake news and you would know the truth. The bottom line is he invited the illegals. “As Senator Ted Cruz pointed out recently in his devastating Twitter thread below, old Joe has promised not to deport illegal aliens. He promised, in fact, to welcome them, give them free health care, and free money from the recent $1.9 stimulus bill.” March 2021. “In April 2020, Biden called for a suspension of deportations.” “In February 2020, Biden said, “Nobody is going to be deported in my first 100 days.”

          1. Yes it did occur. There’s this thing called the internet. You can look it up. He said it.

          2. Char Lie Dumbo in denial. Whether you like it or not senile Joe said it. Put up facts he didn’t nitwit. Just think you voted for the p.o.s.

        3. “A video clipping of Biden speaking at a debate prior to general elections in 2019 clearly shows him say, ‘Surge the borders.’ “I would in fact make sure that there is immediately a surge to the border. They deserve to be heard. That’s who we are. “We’re a nation that says, ‘You want to flee, and you’re fleeing oppression, you should come,'” Biden had told during a debate moderated by Univision’s Jorge Ramos in 2019.”

  1. Home | Newsmax TV
    Tags: Biden Administration | Homeland Security | Immigration | Joe Biden | Newsmax TV | judd | border
    Border Patrol Agent Judd to Newsmax: DHS ‘Knew’ Migrant Surge Was Coming
    (Newsmax/”Greg Kelly Reports”)
    By Charles Kim | Monday, 20 September 2021 09:58 PM

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    Brandon Judd, a Border Patrol agent and president of the National Border Patrol Council, told Newsmax that the Department of Homeland Security was aware that a surge of illegal migrants was on their way to the southern border in June but did nothing to prepare for the influx.

    ”DHS knew this was coming,” Judd said Monday on ”Greg Kelly Reports.” ”They were warned back on June 17 that this was going to become an issue, they were warned that they needed to build a temporary outdoor processing site, similar to what we have in McAllen, Texas, and had they done that, we wouldn’t be dealing with this situation right now.”

          1. Complete opposite of what you see from Don Lemon and the rest of the lying hacks on CNN. There even bigger liars than that dumb bi**h Psaki.

  2. President Biden’s approval ratings in Iowa are taking a hit, with less than a third of residents in the traditional heartland swing state giving the president a thumbs up on the job he’s doing in the White House.

    Biden’s approval rating stands at 31%, with disapproval at 62%, according to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll, which was released on Tuesday.

    That’s a significant drop from June, the previous time the question was asked, when the president stood at 43%-52% approval/disapproval. The last time Biden’s approval ratings were above water in Des Moines Register/Mediacom polling in Iowa was in March, early in his presidency, when he stood at 47%-44%.

    1. Nitwit Char Lie Dumbo will say the poll in a lie but will not put any facts to support his post or dispute the poll. He just runs his big mouth spewing leftist propaganda.

  3. DEL RIO, Texas — Haitian migrants who were being transported on a federally contracted private bus away from the border revolted during the ride and overtook control of the commercial vehicle before escaping, according to two law enforcement officials.

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