DHS Secretary: As Many as 12,000 Illegal Haitian Immigrants Released Into the US in Recent Days, Border Reopened to More Immigrants

September 26, 2021 By Jack Phillips ~

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said Sunday that a significant number of Haitian illegal immigrants who had amassed along the U.S.-Mexico border last week are being released into the United States.

About 12,400 out of 17,000 Haitians are having their cases heard by immigration courts, Mayorkas said, adding that about 5,000 are being processed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Only approximately 3,000 are in detention, he said.

“Approximately, I think it’s about ten thousand or so, twelve thousand,” Mayorkas told “Fox News Sunday” when he was asked about the number of Haitian illegal aliens who have been released into the interior of the United States. The number could rise as 5,000 more cases are processed, he remarked further.

Mayorkas added that the figure of those being released “could be even higher” and added that the “number that are returned could be even higher.” Striking a defensive tone, Mayorkas said, “What we do is we follow the law as Congress has passed it.”

“Legislative reform is needed,” he said, adding that the U.S. “immigration system is broken.”

The Department of Justice in 2017 previously estimated that about 43 percent of illegal aliens released into the U.S. miss their immigration court hearings. When asked about what will happen to the 12,000 who were released in the past week, Mayorkas said that “it is our intention to remove” those aliens.

“We have enforcement guidelines in place that provide that individuals who are recent border crossers who do not show up for their hearings are enforcement priorities, and will be removed,” Mayorkas said.

Last week, more than 15,000 Haitians congregated underneath a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, and essentially constructed a shantytown before numerous local officials sounded the alarm that a humanitarian crisis was brewing.

Epoch Times Photo
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas updates reporters on the effort to resettle vulnerable Afghans in the United States, in Washington on Sept. 3, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

DHS officials, including Mayorkas, on Sept. 24 said that the encampment under the bridge was cleared out. A day later, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that the Texas border crossing will be partially reopened.

The agency also said it is planning to continue flights to Haiti throughout the weekend, ignoring criticism from Democratic lawmakers and some progressive groups.

The number of people at the Del Rio encampment peaked last weekend as migrants driven by confusion over the Biden administration’s policies and misinformation on social media converged at the border crossing. While Mayorkas and other White House officials have asserted that the border is closed, Republicans have said that the administration’s decisions to rescind a number of Trump-era immigrant orders have triggered a surge of illegal immigration.

All the while, Mayorkas and other senior officials have dedicated a significant amount of time in news conferences condemning some Border Patrol agents who were seen on horseback near Haitians who illegally crossed the border. The photographer who shot those pictures last week said that the agents were not whipping the migrants, as some officials and Democratic lawmakers had claimed.

“Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses,” photographer Paul Ratje told local station KTSM, explaining the situation on the ground.

“I’ve never seen them whip anyone,” he said, referring to the agents. “He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

US Reopens Border Crossing in Texas After Clearing Immigrant Camp

September 25, 2021 By Zachary Steiber

The United States on Saturday reopened a border crossing in Texas after shutting it down because thousands of illegal immigrants streamed into the area.

The immigrants crossed the Rio Grande River and entered Del Rio, a small Texas border city. Some 30,000 were encountered between Sept. 9 and Sept. 24, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The high number overwhelmed local resources, including health care facilities, officials told The Epoch Times.

In response to the crisis, DHS closed the Del Rio Port of Entry, which is reached through the International Bridge. A camp under the bridge held many of the immigrants, though it was completely cleared out on Friday.

Customs and Border Protection said the reopening was due to the immigrants being processed into the country, moved elsewhere, or deported. The agency said in a statement that public safety has been “restored” and the immigrant flow has been reduced to “manageable levels.”

Traffic was allowed through starting at 4 p.m. local time. Cargo traffic will resume effective Monday morning, Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.

The port of entry, which is typically open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, was closed on Sept. 17. Traffic was rerouted to Eagle Pass Port of Entry, nearly 60 miles southeast.

About $17,000 was lost a day on missed tolls alone, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano, a Democrat, told reporters on Friday.

Another $35 million per day was lost in trade goods that typically cross the border in either direction.

Epoch Times Photo
This combination of photographs shows the Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas. On the left, a camp of illegal immigrants is seen on Sept. 21, 2021; on the right, the same area after it was cleared, on Sept. 25, 2021. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

Del Rio officials are still assessing the actual loss “but I can tell you that it has been a big toll on businesses,” Lozano said, adding that some workers were forced to add hours to their commute because of the closure.

Roughly 12,400 illegal immigrants encountered by U.S. agents since Sept. 9 were released into the U.S. interior with notices to appear in court or at a federal government office, according to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Just 2,000 have been deported. The others are being processed in different U.S. border areas or returned to Mexico voluntarily.

Under President Joe Biden, illegal immigration has exploded. Some immigration experts say the dramatic change in policy, such as no longer expelling illegal immigrant children who arrive without a responsible adult, has led to the jump. Biden administration officials have defended the overhaul, alleging the Trump era system was “cruel” and needed to be changed. The shift will take time to implement, they’ve said.

“We have a three-part plan: We invest in the root causes to address the need—to address the reason why people leave the homes in which they live and take a perilous journey that they should not take. Second, the building of safe, orderly, and humane pathways. And third, rebuilding an asylum system and a refugee program that were dismantled in the prior administration,” Mayorkas said.

“This takes time, and we are executing our plans,” he added.

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