Monday, September 27, 2021

DHS Secretary Mayorkas Defends Deporting Haitians, Calls Immigration System "Broken"


Natalie Colarossi for Newsweek reported that U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the deportation of Haitian migrants and said the immigration system is "broken" on "Meet the Press" yesterday.

Secretary Mayorkas, speaking to NBC's Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, said the decision to expel some Haitians from Texas this week was "not a mistake" and was made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:

"That is the exercise of a public health imperative. We're in the midst of a pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a Title 42 authority that we exercise to protect the migrants themselves, to protect the local communities, our personnel, and the American public. The pandemic is not behind us. Title 42 is a public health policy, not an immigration policy."

Mayorkas' comments come after the DHS announced on Friday that roughly 2,000 Haitian migrants had been quickly deported from the country after more than 14,000 crossed the Rio Grande into Del Rio, Texas, in the past week. The department added that deportation flights will continue "on a regular basis" without the opportunity for to seek asylum.

In total, the U.S. has allowed about 12,400 of the migrants to temporarily stay in the country in the past week while they pursue asylum claims. Mayorkas said that around 8,000 migrants have voluntarily left the U.S. for Mexico in the past week.

As the Newsweek story emphasizes,

"The influx of migrants comes after Haiti was hit by a deadly 7.2-magnitude earthquake this summer, a tragedy compounded by the assassination of its prime minister and a crippled economy. The rapid congregation of migrants in one week prompted the DHS to quickly ramp up deportation efforts in Texas, resulting in fierce backlash from some prominent Democratic lawmakers.

For example Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, joined others in condemning the expulsion of vulnerable migrants. Controversial video footage of border patrol agents on horseback appearing to lash at the migrants also prompted criticism against officials at the southern border."



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