Border Patrol shuts down all sector checkpoints as border bridge crisis exceeds 10K Haitians

DEL RIO, TX – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection source said the agency is closing down normal operations at all Del Rio Sector Border patrol highway checkpoints to allow staff to assist with the care, transport, and processing of 10,000 mostly Haitian migrants currently detained under the Del Rio International Bridge.

According to the source, the shutdown began at midnight on Friday and will remain closed until an orderly process can be established to handle the makeshift camp.

As the Biden administration struggled with the massive numbers of migrants crossing the border answering his calls for immigration leniency, over 10,000 Haitian migrants have assembled under and around the bridge.

Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens, the county’s top elected official and whose jurisdiction includes Del Rio, said the vast majority of the estimated 12,000 migrants assembled at the bridge were Haitian.

Some Haitians have built cave-like shelters in the reeds along the river, while others have gathered under the bridge for shelter. Owens said trash is discarded in ten-foot-wide piles and at least two women have given birth at the camp.

One of the women tested positive for COVID-19 after being transported to a local hospital.

Checkpoints are normally an important part of the defense of the United States at the border.

Citizenship inspections, K-9s trained to detect concealed humans and narcotics, non-intrusive backscatter X-ray inspections of vehicles to scan for concealed cargo are all utilized at the border checkpoints.

Another concern with shutting down checkpoints is the interruption in the use of radiation detection equipment to look for radioactive materials entering from the border, a terrorism safeguard that will not be fully operational during the shutdown.

According to an exclusive report by Breitbart News, three checkpoints will be closed to allow full staffing reallocation to the Haitian bridge crisis. Two more will be closed for vehicle inspections but will still be used to process and detain migrants.

The CBP source said shutting down the checkpoints may mean smugglers will not need to use backroads or foot trails to bypass the main roads because the checkpoints will be shut down.

He claimed that three checkpoints would be closed to allow all staff to reallocate to the camp. Two others will cease inspections of vehicles, but will still be operating for migrant processing and detention.

The Del Rio Sector’s busiest checkpoint processes at least 25,000 vehicles each week.

The CBP set up portable toilets at the site and said more agents to help handle the growing crisis. Haitians have been crossing a low point in the Rio Grande to cross into the United States. Confusion over Biden’s immigration policies has fueled the rush to cross into the United States.

Many Haitians have been living in Mexico for many years, some since the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. News of Biden’s lax policies and his attempt to suspend Trump era immigration safeguards like Title 42 has caused Haitian migrants to flood across the border in hopes of gaining amnesty.

Guerline Jozef, co-founder of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, an advocacy group that was created after the last Haitian migration crisis along the U.S. southern border, said:

“The majority of the people who are at Del Rio are people who have been in Mexico a very long time but in other cities, for example Tijuana.

“There are a lot of rumors that if you go to Del Rio, you might be able to get access, so people just flooded Del Rio.”

 The Federal Aviation Administration has placed a two-week flight restriction over the bridge after area images of the crush of people living in squalid conditions at the makeshift camp landed on television and social media.

The ruling means  news agencies cannot fly drones to capture any images as the crisis worsens. Activists and local officials say the crisis is getting worse, but the administration is trying to block media access.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said President Biden was to blame for the preventable disaster unfolding:

“I am on the ground in Del Rio, Texas tonight. As of this moment, there are 10,503 illegal aliens under the Del Rio International Bridge. This man-made disaster was caused by Joe Biden.”

Randy McGrorty, who heads Catholic Legal Services in Miami, called on the international community to get involved in the crisis, pointing out that Venezuelans, Cubans, and some Central Americans are mixed in with the Haitians:

“Why isn’t the international community responding to what is really turning into a humanitarian crisis?

“I can’t figure it out. There is nothing good about having people living in fields.”

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DHS extends “Temporary” Protected Status (amnesty for 18 months) for over 100,000 Haitians

 May 25, 2021

 WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly extended the Temporary Protected Status for over 100,000 Haitians residing within the United States for an additional 18 months.

 

On May 22nd, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced that an extended 18-month designation of a Temporary Protected Status, commonly abbreviated as TPS, would be afforded to undocumented Haitians residing within the United States.

Mayorkas tweeted:

“Today, in recognition of the extraordinary and temporary conditions in Haiti, I am announcing Temporary Protected Status for Haiti for 18 months. This new designation enables eligible Haitian nationals to apply for protected status.”

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, TPS is defined as follows:

“The secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent its nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.”

Secretary Mayorkas announced the extension for Haitian nationals, citing the following rationale for doing such:

“Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After careful consideration, we determined that we must do what we can to support Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve so they may safely return home.”

This “new” TPS designation will only benefit Haitian nationals that were already residing in the United States on or before May 21st of 2021.

The announcement of the extended protected status specifically noted that any Haitian trying to come to the United States on or after May 21st “will not be eligible for TPS and may be repatriated.” Although the nationals “may be” repatriated, it’s unclear how strict the US is expected to be on that.

For over a decade, the country of Haiti has received numerous designations and extensions for TPS status, with the country having earned its initial designation from former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in January of 2010 due to the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that ravaged the country.

According to a report from the New York Times, the extension of the TPS status for Haitian nationals within the United States could benefit as many as 150,000 individuals within the country.

Back in January of 2018, a Federal Register notice announced an impending termination of Haiti’s TPS designation that was meant to go into effect on July 22nd of 2019.

However, four separate lawsuits wound up challenging that planned termination and due to various court injunctions and other rulings, the TPS status for Haiti remained in effect.

TPS statuses for various countries have been an issue that has drawn criticism, as some may see the program having been turned into a pseudo amnesty program. Administrations dating back to Bush through Obama and even Trump have continued to either renew or expand the program to benefit a myriad of different countries.  

 

 

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Author: Scott A. Davis


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