DHS Secretary Mayorkas travels to Texas as migrant crisis grows

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DHS Secretary Mayorkas travels to Texas as migrant crisis grows

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is traveling to Del Rio, Texas on Monday to meet with state and local officials to better address the growing crisis situation at the Del Rio International Bridge, where upward of 10,000 illegal immigrants are huddled under a bridge after streaming across the border via the Rio Grande. 

Last week, over 12,000 people gathered under the bridge after crossing into the United States illegally through the Rio Grande river. Lack of security measures along the river and low manpower among Border Patrol led to hundreds crossing back and forth across the river while others waited to be processed. Some of the illegal immigrants, who mostly hail from Haiti, were told they might have to wait up to five days. 

On Sunday, Border Patrol Chief Raul L. Ortiz revealed that 3,300 migrants were moved from the camp to deportation flights or detention centers. Border Patrol officials aim to process the approximately 12,600 migrants left under the bridge within the week. 

The first of the three deportation flights, carrying 145 people each, took off on Sunday from San Antonio to Port-au-Prince. A US official told the Associated Press there could be as many as eight flights a day as the Biden administration attempts to combat the dramatic influx of illegal immigrants

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will meet with state and local officials to better address the growing crisis at the Del Rio International Bridge.
Michael Reynolds/EPA

Ahead of Mayorkas’ visit, the Department of Homeland Security announced that 400 Border Patrol agents would be sent to Del Rio to help restore order. 

“If additional staff is needed, more will be sent,” DHS said. “The Del Rio Port of Entry has temporarily closed, and traffic is being re-routed from Del Rio to Eagle Pass to more effectively manage resources and ensure uninterrupted flow of trade and travel.”

The Biden administration has been slammed for their response to the recent influx, particularly in the Federal Aviation Administration restricting flights above Del Rio for two weeks, effectively shutting out media outlets from fully covering the situation. 

Migrants line up to depart on a bus.
400 Border Patrol agents will be sent to Del Rio to help restore order. 
Adrees Latif/REUTERS

“We know what they’re doing and they are not getting away with it. Restricting and blocking the media’s drones over the Del Rio bridge proves that the Administration is fully aware of the crisis they have created,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) said in a statement.

“This refusal to be transparent is yet another way the Biden Administration is trying to twist the true narrative of what is happening at the border. With or without media access, we will not stop working to expose the truth about this humanitarian and national security crisis.”

Last week’s massive spike of crossings came days after border officials confirmed they had encountered 208,887 migrants at the southwestern frontier in August, marking the first time that more than 200,000 illegal immigrant encounters have been recorded in consecutive months since February and March 2000 (211,328 and 220,063, respectively).

Migrants cross the Rio Grande river.
Border officials confirmed they had encountered 208,887 migrants at the southwestern frontier in August.
Adrees Latif/REUTERS

In 2021 so far, officials have stopped 1,323,597 illegal immigrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border.

The Biden administration has attempted to mitigate these historic numbers through deportation under the CDC’s Title 42 order related to COVID-19, leading to nearly 1 million people being deported. Those efforts were hindered last week when US District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that the US can no longer cite the order to deport migrant families. The order does not apply to single migrants. 

The DHS claims the majority of migrants are still being expelled under the Title 42 order and “those who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain will be placed in expedited removal proceedings.”

Border Patrol officer assists a migrant.
Officials have stopped 1,323,597 illegal immigrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border.
Marco Bello/REUTERS

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