Thousands of Haitian migrants are being released into the United States interior, according to a new report on Wednesday, despite the Biden administration’s claims that thousands of those camped out under the international bridge in Del Rio, Texas faced immediate deportation.
Officials with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that releases of migrants into the U.S. were taking place on a “very, very large scale.” Many are being given notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days, which allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to more quickly process the illegal immigrants.
The Department of Homeland Security has been transporting illegal Haitians from Del Rio to locations along the Texas border, including El Paso, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. The department also recently added flights to Tucson, Arizona, where the illegal immigrants are then processed by border agents.
One Haitian illegal immigrant, Mackenson Veillard, said waiting for a Greyhound Bus to transport him and his pregnant wife to his cousin’s home in San Antonio was a relief. The pair was processed and released on Monday.
“I felt so stressed,” Veillard said. “But now, I feel better. It’s like I’m starting a new life.”
The AP reported that attorneys and immigrant advocates are raising the alarm after being denied access to the illegal immigrant camp in Del Rio.
“Everybody in this country and around the world should be up in arms about the fact that we have an immigration system that operates as such a black box. Right now, we have no official access to understand what processes are under way, what protections are being provided for the migrants,” said Wade McMullen, an attorney with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a human rights advocacy group.
The reports of wide-scale releases comes just days after Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned migrants against crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
“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 life,” he said at a Monday news conference.
More than 200,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions occurred at the southern border for the second month in a row in August, CBP statistics show.
At least 208,887 apprehensions occurred in August, a slight drop from the 212,672 encounters in July. Compared to the same period last year, on the other hand, the number of encounters drastically increased from just 50,014 in August 2020 – a 317 percent jump, according to the agency’s statistics. This year also marked a 233 percent increase over August 2019, when 62,707 illegal immigrants were encountered at the border.