Source: China State Council Information Office
The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday traveled to Del Rio, a city in the U.S. state of Texas that borders Mexico, warning migrants that have amassed there against illegal border crossing.
“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. This administration is committed to developing safe, orderly and humane pathways for migration. This is not the way to do it,” Mayorkas said in remarks to thousands of migrants, most of them Haitians, who have camped for days underneath the Del Rio International Bridge in the border city, waiting to be allowed into the United States.
About 3,500 migrants from the camp have already been relocated, and 3,000 more were expected to be relocated to another processing facility on Monday, the secretary said, adding that an additional 600 Homeland Security personnel have been deployed to the city to cope with the situation.
More than 14,500 migrants are currently in the camp under the Del Rio International Bridge, facing high temperatures and harsh conditions, USA Today cited Del Rio officials as saying.
At least three deportation flights with 145 passengers each arrived Sunday in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, U.S. media reported, citing Haitian authorities as saying six flights were expected Tuesday.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who declared the existence of a disaster in the state in May and who last week closed six points of entry along the border with Mexico to stop the migrant influx, sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday, requesting a federal “Emergency Disaster Declaration” for the state “to lessen the threat of disaster, save lives, and protect property, public health and safety.”
Meanwhile, a video showing U.S. border patrol agents chasing Haitian migrants on horseback triggered outrage, forcing White House press secretary Jen Psaki to acknowledge Monday that what was shown in the “horrific” footage was neither acceptable nor appropriate.
Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in a tweet called the border patrol agents’ actions “human rights abuses, plain and simple.”
“No matter how challenging the situation in Del Rio is right now, nothing justifies violence against migrants attempting to seek asylum in our country,” Representative Veronica Escobar, Democrat of Texas, tweeted.
The DHS in a statement promised to investigate the matter.
The sudden increase of migrants from Haiti, considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and most recently ravaged by a devastating earthquake and the assassination of its president, prompted the Biden administration to initiate a mass deportation process.
The repatriation of Haitians trying to flee their home country has put the Haitian migration system on the edge, as The New York Times quoted Jean Negot Bonheur Delva, the head of Haiti’s national migration office, as saying his country “is not really able to receive these deportees,” whom he said ” are very agitated” and “don’t accept the forced return.”
The amassing of illegal migrants along the U.S. southern border has been a constant headache for the Biden administration. DHS data showed there were 208,887 migrant encounters in August alone, slightly down from over 212,000 encounters in July, but up 317 percent from August 2020.