Immigration & BorderAmid Border Disaster, Deportations to Haiti Commence as Resources in Del Rio Dwindle

Last week, thousands of Haitian illegal aliens arrived in Del Rio after the federal government suspended deportations earlier this month.
September 20, 2021
After an encampment of more than 14,000 mostly Haitian illegal aliens — roughly the same population as Rio Grande City — gathered at the Del Rio International Bridge, the federal government has resumed deportation flights and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is working to deter illegal crossings.

In a press release on Saturday, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicated that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) planned to send 400 additional border guards to Del Rio in one to two days.

The Coast Guard is also working with border agents to transfer illegal aliens to be processed elsewhere “in order to ensure that irregular migrants are swiftly taken into custody, processed, and removed from the United States consistent with our laws and policy.”

DHS is also dramatically increasing deportation flights to Haiti and other countries and working to provide food, health care, and other necessities to the thousands of individuals waiting to be taken into custody.

“Finally, the White House has directed appropriate U.S. agencies to work with the Haitian and other regional governments to provide assistance and support to returnees,” the press statement read.

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While DHS added that “our borders are not open,” the Biden administration has faced criticism for making policy moves this year that have seemingly incentivized illegal immigration. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) argued last week that the rush on the border can be partially attributed to a decision to cancel deportations of Haitians on September 8.

After repatriated Haitians, many of whom have been in South America for years, began arriving Sunday in the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince, officials in the Haitian government were reportedly complaining about the deportations to their country, which is currently in poverty and disarray.

“We are here to say welcome, they can come back and stay in Haiti — but they are very agitated,” said lead migration official Jean Negot Bonheur Delva, according to The New York Times. “They don’t accept the forced return.”

Meanwhile, United States Representative Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23), whose district includes the largest portion of the southern border than any other member of Congress, indicated in a press release on Saturday that the Del Rio port of entry had been shut down and people were instead being redirected to Eagle Pass.

“Although Title 42 is still being used to expel some migrants, the admin has made it clear that others will still be released in the country while awaiting immigration proceedings,” Gonzales said. 

“I’ve been clear that this policy is disastrous and will continue to push the admin to resume Remain in Mexico so migrants no longer have an incentive to be released in the US.”

Last month, the United States Supreme Court effectively ordered the federal government to reinstate the remain in Mexico policy — formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols.

Gonzales posted pictures of empty grocery store shelves in Del Rio, a city of fewer than 36,000 people, and said his constituents are “tired of Biden putting America last.”

Governor Greg Abbott wrote on social media on Sunday, “Texas Dept of Public Safety troopers & Texas National Guard are stanching the flow of illegal migrants trying to cross into the Del Rio region. More Law Enforcement & National Guard are added daily to secure the region from the potential influx of illegal immigrants.”

Also during the weekend, Abbott had posted a picture depicting DPS vehicles creating a “barricade” along the border in Del Rio. In May, the governor declared many counties along the southern border, including Val Verde County, to be disaster areas as a result of illegal immigration.

Democratic Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano, who has reportedly said that the number of people peaked at about 14,500, thanked border agents on Saturday.

“Thank you [United States Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz] for your efforts in providing additional logical support to the Del Rio Sector,” Lozano tweeted.

“Thank you [Abbott] for sending additional state resources. [President Biden], where are you?”


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."

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