Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said Sunday that as many as 12,000 illegal migrants have been released into the U.S. after crossing into the country near Del Rio, Texas, in recent weeks.
Mayorkas appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and told host Chris Wallace that about 10,000 to 12,000 illegal migrants have been released and the number “could be even higher.” About 5,000 migrants from the Del Rio border camp are still going through processing.
Wallace: Of the 17,400 that weren’t deported back or didn’t return on their own to Mexico, how many of them were released into the U.S.?
Mayorkas: Well, they’re released on conditions, and approximately I think it’s about 10,000 or so, 12,000.
CW: Have been released?
CW: And of the 5,000 that are still in process?
AM: We will make determinations whether they will be returned to Haiti based on our public health and public interest authorities.
Mayorkas added that the number of migrants released into the U.S. could increase, as could the number who are returned. “It could be even higher. The number that are returned could be even higher. What we do is we follow the law as Congress has passed it,” Mayorkas said, according to Fox News.
A holding pen hastily put together by U.S. Border Patrol officials underneath a bridge near Del Rio, Texas, was mostly cleared out by Saturday. The area, which was previously covered in migrant tents and held at its peak roughly 15,000 people, had been mostly bulldozed. About 3,000 migrants were left.
Thousands of Haitian immigrants flooded across the border near Del Rio in September, after a social media post claimed that the U.S. border near the Texas city of 35,000 was open. The surge of migrants appeared to catch the Biden administration off-guard. As the Border Patrol relocated agents to the area, Texas officials blasted the federal government.
During a Tuesday press conference, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) ripped the Biden administration’s handling of the border and outlined some actions he had been forced to take to combat the duel illegal immigration and humanitarian crises that were building in Del Rio.
“The only thing [the Biden administration has] shown is an incapability of dealing with this crisis, candidly, in a way where they pretend it doesn’t even exist,” Abbott said. “And we’re here to tell you, it exists, it is total chaos, and the Biden administration — they need to up their game, big time.”
“When you have an administration that has abandoned any pretense of securing the border and securing our sovereignty, you see the onrush,” he added.
Abbott said that he had taken “unprecedented” action to stop the flow of illegal migration, ordering Texas law enforcement to park vehicles along the border for miles to construct a “steel barrier” blocking illegal immigrants from entering the state.