In just the past couple of weeks, the Del Rio border sector has become the newest beachhead in the fight against Biden's border crisis as immigration officials continue to battle the systemic immigration failures of the Biden Administration.
Last week, what appeared to be an unending, exceptionally organized migrant caravan composed mainly of Haitians and some other Caribbean aliens crossed the Rio Grande and set up a squalid tent city reminiscent of the migrant camps seen at Guantanamo Bay during the 1991 Haitian Refugee crisis.
However, as of yesterday, the number of aliens camped under the international bridge in Del Rio had significantly decreased. Reaching the approximate high watermark of nearly 14,000 illegal aliens, the camp's size is now reported to be closer to 6,700 aliens, still primarily Haitian. So, the obvious question that arises is: Where did they go?
Unfortunately, nobody seems to know, and the Federal Government does not seem too keen on releasing detailed information about their latest border catastrophe.
The mainstream media, with their proclivity for panic, began reporting earlier this week that a worst-case scenario was unfolding at the camp; Haitians were being released into the U.S. on a "very, very large scale," according to an anonymous source reported the Associated Press. The AP did not even provide the job description of the anonymous source, simply stating they were a "U.S. official."
The source quoted by the AP added that many of the released aliens were issued Orders to Appear before immigration courts within 60-days after being transported to more interior Texas cities and Tucson, Arizona, where the aliens are being processed at more capable CBP locations. This also makes sense considering that CBP closed the Del Rio entry port after the caravan crossed into the U.S. In addition, some AP journalists reportedly witnessed migrants released at a Del Rio bus station - but failed to provide any more information than that.
Specific reporting on the issuance of Orders to Appear to released migrants is slightly reassuring given the Biden Administration's willful failure to issue them for aliens apprehended and later released in the Rio Grande Valley border sector during the first few months of the Biden Presidency.
The rush of incomplete news stories certainly undercut the Biden Administration's messaging that U.S. officials were beginning to deport and repatriate the aliens grouped in the Del Rio camp. "We have reiterated that our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey. Individuals and families are subject to border restrictions, including expulsion," said Marsha Espinosa, assistant secretary for public affairs for the Department of Homeland Security.
However, in the AP story, another 'U.S. official' was quoted saying that the federal government was preparing to fill up to seven repatriation flights a day to Haiti starting Wednesday, Sep. 22. In conjunction with the messaging coming from the Biden Administration, this information sent tsunami-level ripples through the Democrat voting base - resulting in mass outrage at the Biden Administration from its most ardent supporters, some even going as far to fabricate lies about whips being used on migrants.
The New York Times adds in their coverage of the situation, "The administration temporarily paused deportation flights to Haiti after the country was struck by a devastating earthquake in August. But the sudden surge in migrant crossings over the past week has prompted it to change course [resuming the repatriation flights to Haiti]."
However, the exact criteria for deciding who is repatriated to Haiti and who is released into the U.S. is unclear. Still, both DHS public messaging and anonymous tidbits from 'U.S. officials' say that single adults are the current priority for expulsion. This appears to mirror the administration's stance all along the border as single adults are typically returned while UACs and 'familial' units are often released into the U.S. while the immigration courts decide the credibility of their claims.
According to the AP, two 'Mexican officials' confirmed that Mexico has begun busing and flying Haitians away from the U.S./Mexico border. One of the officials said three busloads of migrants left Acuña on Tuesday, heading to planes taking them to the Mexican state of Tabasco. The other Mexican official stated that there was a flight Monday from the northern city of Monterrey to the southern city of Tapachula near the Guatemala border.
According to the sources, Mexico is also expected to begin repatriation flights to Haiti for Haitians who do not request asylum in Mexico. But this too could create future problems as a vast majority of the Haitians currently at the border have not been in Haiti for approximately 3-6 years, instead migrating from relatively comfortable and prosperous lives in Central and South America.
Todd Bensman, Center for Immigration Studies' Texas-based Senior National Security Fellow, reports that Mexico's immigration service and the Mexican national guard have begun to go door-to-door from Acuna hotel to hotel, rousing migrants in their rooms, filling buses, and taking them to the Acuna airport each morning where they are flown to Veracruz, located in southeastern Mexico.
Back in Del Rio, besides those aliens who most likely claimed asylum in the U.S. and were paroled with a Notice to Appear and those boarding repatriation flights, there is another group slowly disappearing from the border camp. Those who chose to willfully return to Mexico after rumors of deportations from the U.S. began to swirl.
Bensman adds in his reporting that the number of Haitian aliens who crossed into the U.S. then back into Mexico after deportations began could be around 2,000 aliens, now setting up an identical camp on the Mexican side. Many of the Haitians interviewed by Bensman stated that they were attempting to come to the U.S. for a lifestyle upgrade, not fleeing from persecution or destruction from the August earthquake.
Recounting one interview with a Haitian migrant named Stanley who had just swum back across the Rio Grande to Mexico and was preparing to purchase a bus ticket to Tapachula, southern Mexico, Todd Bensman asked why the Haitian was giving up on his trip to the U.S.? Bensman wrote:
"Because Biden said all Haitians coming will be returned to their country," [Stanley] responded, angrily. "We spent much money to come here. Much, much, much money. And we get nothing now. This is very sad for me."
The plan, [Stanley] and others at the bus station said, was to get Mexican papers in Tapachula and wait out Biden's interest in repatriation flights, then try crossing again when that program ends.
According to the Centers for Immigration Studies, "CIS is unaware of the destinations of the illegal aliens who have left Del Rio. How many have been deported? How many have been paroled into the U.S.? How many have returned to southern Mexico? Media access has been cut off as of yesterday — authorities have sharply restricted access to the encampment and federal officials are not taking questions at this time."
In Bensman's invaluable on-site reporting, he highlighted one of the major takeaways from the entire Del Rio crisis, stating:
Illegal aliens leaving Del Rio out of fear of deportation to Haiti demonstrates the power of deportations. But I fear they are only being used at the one spot along a very long border. Deportations should be utilized as an enforcement mechanism all along the border and for all nationalities. This would end the whole illegal immigration crisis, especially if combined with action by the Mexican government, as we are seeing now. But there is no messaging from the Biden administration that this is more than temporary.
For Todd Bensman's articles on the Del Rio migrant crisis, please click here.
Updated: Thu, Oct 7th 2021 @ 4:40pm EDT