Alejandro Mayorkas, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, has traveled to the U.S. southern border at Del Rio, Texas on Monday amid the growing crisis sparked by a flood of Haitian migrants amassed in the thousands, who are attempting to illegally cross the border.
The number of illegal immigrants, which numbered around 4,000 in Wednesday, swelled to 15,000 on Saturday.
The Department of Homeland Security says that Mayorkas is meeting with Texas and local officials to address the situation, in which thousands of predominantly Haitian migrants are trying to illegally enter the United States. Footage from Fox News over the weekend, captured by Fox’s Bill Melugin, showed a throng of thousands of migrants, many of whom set up makeshift camps along the Mexico side of the U.S. southern border.
"We certainly are experiencing a challenging situation, but we are surging resources and we have a multipronged approach to this," Mayorkas said in a CNN interview on Sunday. He added that the Department of Homeland Security added 600 additional agents to deal with the surge, and has been cooperating with the American Red Cross and World Central Kitchen to deliver food and supplies to the illegal immigrants, who have been dealing with 100-degree Fahrenheit weather as they await to be processed by the Customs and Border Protection agency.
On CNN, Mayorkas repeated Kamala Harris’ message to the illegal immigrants not to attempt illegal entry.
“We have sent a very clear message early on in light of the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic, that the border is not open and people should not take the perilous journey here,” he said. “We are returning people to other countries.”
According to Fox News, lawmakers like Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX) blamed the situation on the Biden administration’s suspension of deportation flights. Pfluger said that Haitians and others who were previously waiting in Central American countries were just waiting for the right moment to attempt entry into the United States, and that they took Biden’s suspension of the flights as “go time.”
“So when those flights were stopped by the U.S. government...they got the word and it was like ‘go time,’” he said.
The Biden administration shut down the Del Rio entry point and redirected would-be crossers to Eagle’s Pass 57 miles away, Fox News reported.
The DHS announced on Saturday that it would be taking a number of additional steps to deal with the growing crisis, including raising the number of deportation flights back to Haiti, and moving people from Del Rio to other processing facilities in Texas. It would also have Border Patrol emergency technicians administer food and water and construct portable toilets to the thousands of migrants awaiting their turn to be processed.