A group of Haitian immigrants reportedly took over a privately-contracted transport bus and attempted to escape federal custody on Monday.
Senior law enforcement officials described the episode to The Washington Examiner on Tuesday. The busload of illegal immigrants bound for San Antonio from the makeshift camp located underneath a bridge in Del Rio took control of the vehicle and fled before being recaptured by federal agents. As the Examiner reports:
A large white bus bound for San Antonio, Texas, was overtaken Monday afternoon during the two-and-a-half-hour trip from the international bridge in Del Rio. The migrants on board had been picked up from the makeshift migrant camp, where thousands are waiting to be taken into custody, two federal law enforcement agents told the Washington Examiner.
“They did break out of the bus, and they did escape,” a senior federal law enforcement official confirmed to the Washington Examiner on Tuesday.
It is not clear which federal agency, Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was overseeing the transport. CBP initially apprehends, transports, and processes illegal immigrants, while ICE is responsible for longer-term detention and removal from the country. Neither agency responded to requests for comment.
A growing immigration and humanitarian crisis is developing in Del Rio, Texas, after thousands of immigrants flooded across the U.S.-Mexico border and are currently being held in a makeshift holding pen underneath an overpass. The Biden administration is surging federal agents to the area in an attempt to stem the flow of illegal migrants.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has issued strong statements to discourage migrants from attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.
“We are very concerned that Haitians who are taking this irregular migration path are receiving false information that the border is open or that temporary protected status is available,” Mayorkas said. “I want to make sure that it is known that this is not the way to come to the United States. That is false information.”
“We have reiterated that our borders are not open and people should not make the dangerous journey,” Mayorkas later added. “Individuals and families are subject to border restrictions, including expulsion. Irregular migration poses a significant threat to the health and welfare of border communities and to the lives of the migrants themselves, and should not be attempted. 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 lives.”
Mayorkas’ message is being undercut by U.S. policy, however, according to one former field office director for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Tom Feeley, who previously led the Buffalo ICE field office, alleged that the Biden administration is releasing illegal migrants into the interior of the U.S. on a “grand scale.”
“It’s happening on a grand scale,” Feeley said. “They’re getting pounded every day fielding calls from headquarters about who they can release to make room for more people on the border. And the following week, they’re getting more calls almost daily, again, about who can you release to make room for more people on the border.”
“So basically all we’re doing is we’re catching them at the border, shipping them into the interior, releasing them and getting more and then releasing them and then getting more and releasing them,” he added.
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