Even as more than 1,000 Haitian migrants were deported between Sunday and Tuesday, thousands more are allowed to enter the United States, sometimes to seek asylum – and are released with instructions to report to law enforcement officers. immigration at a later date.
Faced with an unusually large number of Haitians who began crossing the border into Del Rio, Texas at the end of last week, the Biden administration responded with high-profile repatriation flights, which officials say , will deter others from making the trip here. There are five flights scheduled for Wednesday, according to an official familiar with the plans, who was not authorized to discuss the matter and therefore spoke on condition of anonymity.
The sudden appearance of thousands of Haitian migrants overwhelmed border patrol officers in Del Rio last week. At one point, some 15,000 people crowded under and around a bridge in squalid conditions awaiting brief questioning by border officials. To alleviate overcrowding, the administration transported large numbers of migrants to less frequented places on the southern border; most are released from Border Patrol custody with a “notice of appearance” order, which formally puts them into the immigration court system for a deportation hearing – often years away.
Neither the Department of Homeland Security nor Customs and Border Protection responded to a question on Wednesday about how many migrants arriving in Del Rio are allowed to enter the country and how many are deported.
The Biden administration is using an emergency rule that the Trump administration put in place at the start of the pandemic to deport migrants who are repatriated to Haiti. The administration has sought to uphold the rule, which critics say is aimed less at preventing the spread of Covid-19 and more at preventing migrants from entering the country. For various reasons, the rule is not always applied consistently across the border, which immigration advocates say confuses migrants about trying to enter states. -United.
The response to the latest sharp increase in the number of migrants crossing the border illegally has appeared chaotic. The Department of Homeland Security is investigating possible ill-treatment inflicted on certain migrants. And the Haitian government has asked the United States for a moratorium on evictions, fearing that the country, battered by natural disasters and political upheaval, could not handle the number of Haitians returnees.
One woman, Joselyne Simeus, an original Haitian who had lived in Chile for seven years, was among the migrants who crossed the Rio Grande last week and entered the country illegally with her 5-year-old son, joining the thousands of ‘waiting. under the bridge. She applied for asylum and called herself “lucky” because she and her son were not forced to return to Haiti immediately, but instead planned to travel to Florida to stay with their families.
Many migrants, including families who say they are afraid to return to their countries, are handed over by border patrol to immigration and customs officials and transported to a center where they are fed and questioned. Some of those who have applied for asylum are released with tracking devices on their ankles, according to the official close to the case.
ICE also stepped in to help with processing in late July and early August, when border patrol officers were overwhelmed by a wave of migrants in the Rio Grande Valley.
Edgar Sandoval contributed reporting from Del Rio, Texas.