US Clears Encampment Of Haitian Migrants In Del Rio, Texas

There are no more migrants crowded under the Del Rio bridge in South Texas, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday, days after viral images of Border Patrol agents using reins against Haitian migrants drew widespread condemnation.

“As of this morning, there are no longer any migrants in the camp underneath the Del Rio international bridge,” Mayorkas said, referring to the Texas border crossing that has seen what he described as an unprecedented level of migration in recent weeks.

Nearly 30,000 migrants have been encountered at the Del Rio sector along the border since Sept. 9, with the highest number of people held at one time reaching roughly 15,000, Mayorkas told reporters during a White House briefing.

Most of the arriving migrants were originally from Haiti, the Caribbean nation that recently suffered a series of natural disasters and political upheaval following the assassination of the Haitian president.

“It is unprecedented for us to see that number of people arrive at one discrete point in the border in such a compacted period of time. That is unprecedented,” Mayorkas said

Approximately 12,400 of those individuals have been allowed to pursue immigration cases from within the U.S., Mayorkas said — a data point congressional Republicans requested during a pair of hearings earlier this week.

Roughly 8,000 migrants decided to return to Mexico voluntarily. At the same time, approximately 2,000 were sent back to Haiti under a public health directive known as Title 42 that allows border agents to “expel” migrants without hearing their claims for protection. Around 5,000 others are still being processed, Mayorkas said.

His remarks came days after images of Border Patrol agents on horseback holding back Haitian migrants with the reins went viral, prompting outcry across the country and among Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Mayorkas called those images “horrifying.”

“We know that those images painfully conjured up the worst of our nation’s ongoing battle against systemic racism,” he said.

However, he stressed that the government’s current investigation into the conduct “will be based on the facts that the investigators learn.” Mayorkas promised to make the results of that investigation public.

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