President Joe Biden’s immigration authorities have repatriated over 5,000 Haitian migrants aboard 50 removal flights since September 19, a United Nations entity revealed Thursday.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began to ramp up the pace of deportation flights to Haiti on September 19 in response to the thousands of predominantly Haitian migrants who settled at a makeshift camp near the U.S. border in Del Rio, Texas.
Despite the Biden administration’s public statements that the migrants at the camp faced immediate removal, the estimated number of Haitian migrants released into U.S. communities so far more than doubles those deported by immigration authorities.
Last Friday, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters at the White House that about 12,400 Haitian migrants had been released into U.S. communities, telling Fox News the following Sunday that the figure “could be even higher.”
On Monday, the Haiti office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a U.N. body, revealed that between September 19 and 27, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, a component of DHS, had expelled 5,442 Haitians, nearly half of them women and children.
✈️ It has been 11 days since the mass repatriations of Haitians from the US started.
Over 5,000 migrants have been returned since and more are scheduled to arrive. IOM is on the ground assisting all those returning. pic.twitter.com/h1Z7lg404Z
— IOM Haiti (@IOMHaiti) September 30, 2021
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) September 30, 2021
During his White House press briefing, Mayorkas revealed that previous estimates of a total of 15,000 migrants gathered at the encampment in Texas are incorrect.
The DHS chief put the total number of migrants who crossed the U.S. border into Del Rio since September 9 at 30,000.
Nearly 30,000 migrants have been encountered at Del Rio since September 9th, with the highest number at one time reaching approximately 15,000. Today, we have no migrants remaining in the camp under the [Del Rio] International Bridge.
In addition to the estimated 12,400 released into the U.S., Mayorkas said:
An estimated 8,000 migrants have decided to return to Mexico voluntarily, and just over 5,000 are being processed by DHS to determine whether they will be expelled or placed in immigration removal proceedings.
Mayorkas conceded last Friday that his department released Haitian migrants into the U.S. interior without testing them for the Chinese coronavirus.
Moreover, many Haitian migrants have reportedly been released with notices to appear before an immigration office rather than a court.
Due to the immigration court backlog exacerbated by the pandemic and Biden’s border crisis, it could take several years for migrants to see a judge or asylum officer.
Biden is offering at least some asylum seekers work permits.
DHS is expelling the Haitian migrants under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) public health authority known as Title 42 invoked by the previous administration. President Biden has kept in place a watered-down version of the measure that grants removal exceptions to certain migrants.