- One unnamed federal official “with direct knowledge of operations” told The AP Haitians have been freed on a “very, very large scale” in recent days, estimating the figure at thousands.
- A second official corroborated the mass releases of Haitians being processed under immigraiton laws, which the newspaper also said some of its journalists witnessed at the Del Rio bus station.
- Many are being released with notices to appear (NTA) at an immigration office within 60 days, the first official said, noting that this requires less processing time from Customs and Border Patrol Agents.
- The release of these migrants in the U.S. conflicts with the Biden administration’s statements that those entering the country will be sent home.
- The Department of Homeland Security and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Forbes.
“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,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at a Monday press conference.
The situation in Del Rio has become the latest source of trouble for the Biden administration.
Haitians have been arriving in the thousands and camping out under or around a bridge in the small border town amid ongoing instability in their country, which was rocked by a massive earthquake in August and the shocking assassination of its president in July.
U.S. officials began ramping up expulsion of these migrants over the weekend, but quickly drew bipartisan scrutiny for images depicting aggressive tactics from border patrol agents corralling people on horseback.
Mayorkas told Congress on Tuesday he planned to have the make-shift refugee camp in Del Rio cleared out within 10 days. The Homeland Security chief explained this will be done through a mix of flights back to Haiti and moving migrants quickly “to other processing centers to ensure their security and the safety of the community.”