Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is meeting with local officials in Del Rio, Texas, Monday amid concerns that the Biden administration’s border crisis is spinning further out of control, with thousands of Haitian migrants now camped out under a freeway overpass, waiting to be processed by United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The meeting follows a decision, made late last week, to deny most Haitian migrants entry into the United States and expel them directly back to Haiti. Flights from Texas to Port-au-Prince began on Sunday and are expected to continue Monday, according to The Associated Press.
“Mayorkas is meeting with state and local officials to address the situation, in which thousands of predominantly Haitian migrants are flooding the border. Many have set up a de facto camp under a bridge to shelter from the 100-degree heat as their numbers swell and they wait to be processed by Border Patrol,” Fox News reported.
Mayorkas is expected to review that bridge camp.
The bridge in question has been in use by migrants for some time as they wait to present themselves to CBP, declare an intent to seek asylum in the United States, and be given a hearing date. Recently, according to footage obtained largely by Fox LA’s Bill Melugin, approximately 12,000 migrants have taken up residence under the bridge, awaiting processing.
Many of the migrants are from Haiti and are moving to the United States-Mexico border after fleeing to Mexico following a series of natural disasters.
“We certainly are experiencing a challenging situation, but we are surging resources and we have a multipronged approach to this,” Mayorkas said Sunday in an interview with CNN.
“He said that so far the administration had added 600 agents as part of a surge in the region and was working with American Red Cross and World Central Kitchen to bring supplies and food to people,” Fox noted.
“We have sent a very clear message early on in light of the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic, that the border is not open and people should not take the perilous journey here,” Mayorkas added in his interview. “We are returning people to other countries.”
Texas authorities, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have said they are working with the administration to stem the flow of migrants, which has been breaking records since the beginning of the year. Last week, Abbott shut border crossings in Texas and then hastily reopened them — a move, he claimed, came in response to a Biden administration “flip-flop” on border security.
Sunday, as The Daily Wire reported, Texas law enforcement built its own barricade across the border in an attempt to stem the flow of migrants into Texas.
Also Sunday, the Biden administration announced that, despite previous pledges to halt many deportation flights, Haitian migrants would be placed onboard aircraft and returned to Haiti.
“More than 320 migrants arrived in Port-au-Prince on three flights Sunday, and Haiti said six flights were expected Tuesday. In all, U.S. authorities moved to expel many of the more than 12,000 migrants camped around a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico,” The Associated Press said.
“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 but authorities may add El Paso,” the outlet continued.
If the operation continues, the AP noted, it could become “one of America’s swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants or refugees in decades.”