'Thousands' of Haitian Migrants Reportedly Released in US, Undercutting Biden Admin's Expulsion Vows

© AFP 2022 / Guillermo AriasHaitian migrants seeking asylum in the United States, queue at El Chaparral border crossing in the hope of getting an appointment with US migration authorities, in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, in Baja California, on October 7, 2016
Haitian migrants seeking asylum in the United States, queue at El Chaparral border crossing in the hope of getting an appointment with US migration authorities, in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, in Baja California, on October 7, 2016 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.09.2021
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As over 13,000 migrants, largely from Haiti, have flooded an impromptu camp in the Texas town of Del Rio, hoping to receive legal resident status, US authorities have removed at least 4,000 people for processing in detention centres, with the Department of Homeland Security promising to push ahead with expulsion flights to Haiti.
Haitian migrants camped under and near a bridge in the Texas border town of Del Rio are being released in the United States in the thousands, reported AP.
Haitians have recently been freed on a “very, very large scale'', according to cited US officials with direct knowledge of operations. The reports state that large numbers of Haitians were being processed under immigration laws instead of being deported and put on expulsion flights to Haiti, launched on 19 September.
© AFP 2022 / Paul RatjeМигранты из Гаити пересекают границу США и Мексики на реке Рио-Гранде
Мигранты из Гаити пересекают границу США и Мексики на реке Рио-Гранде - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.09.2021
Мигранты из Гаити пересекают границу США и Мексики на реке Рио-Гранде
Furthermore, instead of summons to an immigration court, many are being released with notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days, the officials reportedly said, in an effort to speed up processing time by Border Patrol agents.
Haitian migrants from the impromptu camp are reportedly being taken by bus to El Paso, Laredo and Rio Grande Valley along the Texas border for processing by the Border Patrol in line with orders by the Homeland Security Department.
They are also being put on additional flights to Tucson, Arizona, after not enough buses to Tucson could be enlisted, said the cited officials. Haitians were flown on Coast Guard planes from Del Rio to El Paso, added the report. While it was not clarified what criteria was used to decide who was deported to Haiti and who was released in the US, the report suggested single adults were prioritised for expulsion flights. It was added that seven daily flights to Haiti were planned as of Wednesday.
There has not yet been any official comment from the Homeland Security Department on the report.
The purported releases of the Haitian migrants in the US appear to be occurring despite a ramped-up effort to expel them of flights to Haiti, in line with COVID-19 pandemic-related authority, known as “Title 42.” The policy is based on a public health law to close borders to people seeking asylum, and was introduced by then-president Donald Trump in 2020 purportedly to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Under Title 42, people who ask for asylum at the border are summarily “expelled” by US officials to Mexico, or to the countries they fled.

‘Total Chaos’

The reports of numerous migrant releases also appear at variance with statements recently made by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who had visited Del Rio and weighed in on the “challenging and heartbreaking situation”. The official had vowed swift action to resolve the migrant problem plaguing a town of 35,000 residents.

“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,'' he said at a news conference on Monday.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who went to Del Rio on Tuesday, said during a press conference that the state was taking unprecedented steps to secure the border. Abbott blamed the Joe Biden Administration for the surge of nearly 15,000 Haitian migrants who entered Del Rio from Mexico last week.
“The Biden Administration’s failure to enforce immigration laws and halt illegal crossings on a federal dam poses life-threatening risks to Texans and the migrants themselves. Texans ― and all Americans ― demand and deserve a secure southern border and the protection of our nation’s sovereignty,” said Abbott.
We’re here to tell you, it exists, it’s total chaos, and the Biden administration, they need to up their game big time,” added the governor.
© AFP 2022 / Paul RatjeАгенты пограничного патруля США пытаются помешать гаитянским мигрантам войти в лагерь на берегу Рио-Гранде в Дель-Рио, штат Техас
Агенты пограничного патруля США пытаются помешать гаитянским мигрантам войти в лагерь на берегу Рио-Гранде в Дель-Рио, штат Техас - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.09.2021
Агенты пограничного патруля США пытаются помешать гаитянским мигрантам войти в лагерь на берегу Рио-Гранде в Дель-Рио, штат Техас
Amid sharp bipartisan censure, Republicans slammed the Biden administration’s migrant policies for allowing the Haitians to believe they would be granted asylum. Earlier, viral images showing Border Patrol agents on horseback using what looked like whips, but Mayorkas claimed were long reins, to force back the migrants unleashed a torrent of condemnation.
Top Biden administration officials have also deplored the actions against illegal migrants as mistreatment and initiated an investigation into the incident.
The latest surge of Haitian refugees added to the record-breaking number of illegal border crossings registered this summer.
The administration of the Democratic POTUS has been under fire for its imprudent moves to roll back the Trump-era hairline immigration policies, resulting in over 200,000 southwest border crossing in August alone– a four-fold rise from encounters documented a year ago.
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