Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told Fox News on Sept. 19 that single adult men will be expelled under the federal government’s Title 42 rule, although most family units who have crossed the border illegally will be processed and released into the United States with a notice to appear in an immigration court.
Representatives for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and DHS didn’t respond to requests for comment by press time.
Ortiz said at a Sept. 19 news conference that deportation flights sending some illegal immigrants back to Haiti have already begun.
“They will be removed and they will be sent back to their country of origin,” Ortiz said of illegal aliens without a legitimate claim to stay in the United States.
More than 10,000 illegal aliens have congregated under and around a bridge in Del Rio as they wait to be processed. Members of Congress and Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano have said the situation is developing into a humanitarian crisis. The majority of the illegal immigrants appear to be of Haitian origin.
Ortiz said that “no one has crossed since midnight” into Del Rio, noting that about 3,300 aliens have been moved from the bridge area. Around 3,000 more are slated to be moved within the next 24 hours, he said.
Border Patrol agents closed the Del Rio Port of Entry late on Sept. 17 in an effort to control the surge of illegal immigrants, and cross-border traffic is being diverted about 60 miles south to Eagle Pass, Texas.
“This temporary closure and shift is necessary in order for CBP to respond to urgent safety and security needs presented by an influx of migrants into Del Rio and is effective immediately,” CBP said in a statement. “It will advance and protect national interests and help ensure the safety of the traveling public, commercial traffic, and CBP employees and facilities.”
Throughout the crisis, the Biden administration has received bipartisan backlash for how it’s handling the swell of illegal immigrants at the country’s southern border.
Val Verde Country Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez said the federal government needs to deploy more resources to the Del Rio area.
“People in D.C. need to get off the bench and get in the game,” Martinez told ABC News. “This is a serious situation here.”
And Lozano, a Democrat, has repeatedly demanded that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris provide more support in Twitter posts addressing the two officials.
“The US is failing to protect its borders. Why aren’t you here?” he wrote to both Harris and Biden. “The President has a plan for taxes.”
Lozano also posted photos of the throngs of Haitian illegal immigrants.
“Where is the plan to protect our southern border?” he wrote.
Republican members of Congress also have sounded the alarm in recent days.
“This crisis has reached a boiling point—Del Rio officials are not equipped to handle nearly 15,000 migrants pouring into their community,” Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) said in a Sept. 18 statement. “What will it take to wake this Administration up to the realities of this crisis? There is a real human cost to Biden’s weak border policies.”