DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — Many Haitian migrants camped in a small Texas border town are being released in the United States, two U.S. officials said Tuesday, undercutting the Biden administration’s public statements that the thousands in the camp faced immediate expulsion.
Haitians have been freed on a “very, very large scale” in recent days, according to one U.S. official who put the figure in the thousands. The official, with direct knowledge of operations who was not authorized to discuss the matter and thus spoke on condition of anonymity
Many have been released with notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days, an outcome that requires less processing time from Border Patrol agents than ordering an appearance in immigration court and points to the speed at which authorities are moving, the official said.
The Homeland Security Department has been busing Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso, Laredo and Rio Grande Valley along the Texas border, and this week added flights to Tucson, Arizona, the official said. They are processed by the Border Patrol at those locations.
A second U.S. official, also with direct knowledge and speaking on the condition of anonymity, said large numbers of Haitians were being processed under immigration laws and not being placed on expulsion flights to Haiti that started Sunday. The official couldn’t be more specific about how many.
U.S. authorities scrambled in recent days for buses to Tucson but resorted to flights when they couldn’t find enough transportation contractors, both officials said. Coast Guard planes took Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso.
The releases in the U.S. were occurring despite the signaling of a massive effort to expel Haitians on flights to Haiti under pandemic-related authority that denies migrants an opportunity to seek asylum. A third U.S. official not authorized to discuss operations said there were seven daily flights to Haiti planned starting Wednesday.
Accounts of wide-scale releases – some observed at the Del Rio bus station by Associated Press journalists – are at odds with statements a day earlier by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who traveled to Del Rio to promise swift action.
“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 Monday news conference.
The releases come amid a quick effort to empty the camp under a bridge that, according to some estimates, held more than 14,000 people over the weekend in a town of 35,000 people. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, during a visit Tuesday to Del Rio, said the county’s top official told him the most recent tally at the camp was about 8,600 migrants.
The criteria for deciding who is flown to Haiti and who is released in the U.S. was unclear, but two U.S. officials said single adults were the priority for expulsion flights.
The Homeland Security Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday night.
Joe Biden refuses to respond to TX Gov. Greg Abbott’s direct plea for an emergency declaration, as well.
Meanwhile, Mexico has begun busing and flying Haitian migrants away from the U.S. border, authorities said Tuesday, signaling a new level of support for the United States as the camp presented President Joe Biden with a humanitarian and increasingly political challenge.
The White House is facing sharp bipartisan condemnation. Republicans say Biden administration policies led Haitians to believe they would get asylum. Democrats are expressing outrage after images went viral this week of Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics against the migrants.
Mexico has helped at key moments before. It intensified patrols to stop unaccompanied Central American children from reaching the Texas border in 2014, allowed tens of thousands of asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration courts in 2019 and, just last month, began deporting Central American migrants to Guatemala after the Biden administration flew them to southern Mexico.
Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign relations secretary, said Tuesday he had spoken with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, about the Haitians’ situation. Ebrard said most of the Haitians already had refugee status in Chile or Brazil and weren’t seeking it in Mexico.
“What they are asking for is to be allowed to pass freely through Mexico to the United States,” Ebrard said.
Two Mexican federal officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, confirmed Mexico’s actions.
One of the officials said three busloads of migrants left Acuña on Tuesday morning for Piedras Negras, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) down the border, where they boarded a flight to the southern city of Villahermosa in the state of Tabasco.
The other official said there was a flight Monday from the northern city of Monterrey to the southern city of Tapachula near the Guatemala border. Tapachula is home to the largest immigrant detention center in Latin America. The flight carried about 100 migrants who had been picked up around the bus station in Monterrey, a hub for various routes north to the U.S. border.
The second official said the plan was to move to Tapachula all Haitians who already solicited asylum in Mexico.
The Haitian migrants who are already in Mexico’s detention centers and have not requested asylum will be the first to be flown directly to Haiti once Mexico begins those flights, according to the official.
Around Ciudad Acuña, Mexican authorities were stepping up efforts to move migrants away from the border. There were detentions overnight by immigration agents and raids on hotels known to house migrants.
“All of a sudden they knocked on the door and (yelled) ‘immigration,’ ‘police,’ as if they were looking for drug traffickers,” said Freddy Registre, a 37-year-old Venezuelan staying at one hotel with his Haitian wife, Vedette Dollard. The couple was surprised at midnight.
Authorities took four people plus others who were outside the hotel, he said. “They took our telephones to investigate and took us to the immigration offices, took our photos,” Registre said. They were held overnight but finally were given their phones back and released. Authorities gave them two options: leave Mexico or return to Tapachula.
On Tuesday afternoon, they decided to leave town. They bought tickets for a bus ride to the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, planning to continue to Tapachula where they had already applied for asylum.
Others left without being told. Small groups arrived at Ciudad Acuña’s bus station to buy tickets to Veracruz, Monterrey and Mexico City. The same bus lines prohibited from selling them tickets for rides north through Mexico, sold them tickets to head south without issue.
In Haiti, dozens of migrants upset about being deported from the U.S. tried to rush back into a plane that landed Tuesday afternoon in Port-au-Prince as they yelled at authorities. A security guard closed the plane door in time as some deportees began throwing rocks and shoes at the plane. Several of them lost their belongings in the scuffle as police arrived. The group was disembarking from one of three flights scheduled for the day.
Verza reported from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, and Spagat from San Diego. Associated Press writers Mark Stevenson in Mexico City, Felix Marquez in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Evens Sanon from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Michael Balsamo in Washington, Michael R. Sisak in New York and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, also contributed to this report.
Follow AP’s coverage of migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.
And who do you think are going to support these 14,000 Haitian migrants?? Who do you think is going to support the hundreds of millions of other illegal immigrants that the socialist Democrat Party is flooding our country with??
The Dishonorable, Socialist Democrat Party game plan is to lie, cheat and steal elections in order to take total control of the American people, increase Taxes on everything and bring American commerce and economy to its knees. Encourage, protect and support multi-millions of illegal immigrants, in order to buy their illegal votes.
Then access power and retain it by any means available –
no matter the costs to the people, the government or the nation.
If you listen between the lines the satan worshipping DEMONcrats want to flood this country with everything they can also as to turn the country into another third world country, they tried under the bamba years but failed, this time around they just might get what they want.
The DEMONcrats have been trying for decades to bring this nation down and now everything is in place and they are going to do just that, they are going after our hard earned money they are going after our homes and everything else they can get those grimy fingers on.
You can bet that when it comes down to it those Haitian invaders will be given more than any one has just so long as they vote for satan and his followers the DEMONcrats. There is not one DEMONcrat that does not follow satan and any one can try to prove that wrong.
With the rate they are literally turning city after city, into african war-zone like hell holes, THEY Won’t take that much longer to accomplish that goal..
Time to start unleashing hell, on these invaders..
Who is it that can’t see what’s going on? The reports speak of “impoverished Haitians” gathering at the border. If they’re impoverished, how the h— can they afford to travel from Haiti to the U.S. border. It seems obvious to me that some person or group must be paying their way—who and why?
Most of the Haitian emigrants have refugee status in Chile or Brazil, so why, instead of going to those countries filled with brown people, are the Haitians (and others) risking everything to come to our wicked country that oppresses blacks and other people of color? Have those folks figured out what the Dem voters can’t seem to get through their heads—that the Democrat politicians and their lap dog media are lying through their teeth about oppression and ‘systemic racism?’
Why is there still any question about how to deal with this invasion—is half of America brain dead?
THEN if they have ‘refugee’ status IN those countries, i say LETS FLY THEM OVER those places, and AIR drop them out, from 20 thousand feet up!!!
“Biden Admin Lying To America”. What does one expect from the Biden criminal crime family. Criminals are liars.
Our gubment, the US gubment lie. This obviously cannot be true. Please say it ain’t so (pardon my poor grammar).
These days, it would be miraculous and abnormal, if they told us something, that was TRUTHFUL…
Well OF COURSE the Biden Administration is lying.
But here’s my suggestion: Send them all to Martha’s Vineyard, the Hamptons, and Chappaquiddick.
we may as well face facts in whats left of america folks.
1-we are a socialist nation.
2-we have one party rule.
3- we have no borders so we are not a country.
3- we are being invaded by the trash of the world.
4- republicans are really democrats.
5- the federal government will come for your money and weapons.
6- white anglo people will be hunted and are being hunted.
7- for you families “the government owns your kids”.
8- biden and harris and the left stole the 2020 election.
9- joe biden works for china.
10- turn out the lights the party is over.
god bless america.
God’s left the building.. Bring on the massive extinction level asteroid, to hit the great restart button!