“Mexico’s decision [triggering the migration across the Rio Grande to Del Rio, Texas] presents a clear diplomatic affront to the Biden administration, transferring a significant threat management and humanitarian challenge to America, not to mention a potential political problem for the Biden administration.” – Todd Bensman, Ctr for Immigration Studies.
A long posting about the situation in Del Rio. First, a DHS statement on steps it is taking: 400 personnel are being sent to the Del Rio sector. The Del Rio Port of Entry has temporarily closed. Moving migrants to other processing locations “in order to ensure that irregular migrants are swiftly taken into custody, processed, and removed from the United States consistent with our laws and policy.” DHS will secure additional transportation to accelerate the pace and increase the capacity of removal flights to Haiti and other destinations. The Administration is working with source and transit countries in the region to accept individuals who previously resided in those countries. “DHS is undertaking urgent humanitarian actions with other relevant federal, state, and local partners to reduce crowding and improve conditions for migrants on U.S. soil.”
Next, an 2020 article reports that a large share of Haitian migrants at the border started off in South America to reach the Mexican – American border and are part of a long term Haitian diaspora. They may have been residing in South America for years, leaving Haiti in 2010, and settling precariously in Brazil or other South American countries, until and their economic conditions worsened.
Next, Todd Bensman’s report dated Sept 18 published by the Center for Immigration Studies:
on Sunday, September 12, the Mexican government effectively sent a mass of migrants it had bottled up for months in its southern states up to the American border. This move, which appears to have been done under the cover of Mexico’s independence week of celebration known as El Grito, essentially foisted a humanitarian problem onto the Americans in a single week.
A quick background is necessary to understand what the migrants were saying. In short, when it was newly installed in January, the Biden administration began to pressure Mexico to maintain and use its National Guard and immigration bureaucracy to slow the flow of expected caravans and of tens of thousands of Haitians and other migrants coming in from all over the world. This was a fairly quiet diplomatic campaign, and it coincided with billions in promised U.S. aid and other benefits such as covid vaccines. It was a different approach from the Trump style of threatening to damage the Mexican economy with tariffs unless the leadership slowed U.S.-bound illegal immigration coming through Guatemala.
In response to Biden’s softer approach with gifts, Mexico apparently responded with a lighter version of a Trump-era tactic, which was to require that migrants entering from Guatemala be held in the southern state of Chiapas, in the border city of Tapachula, until they applied for and obtained temporary legal permits. National Guard roadblocks reinforced the policy.
Another Haitian said he and his family were forced to wait in Tapachula for months, applying for what he termed “passports” to the rest of Mexico. He said every day he would go to immigration to check on the status of his application.
Then, all of a sudden one day last week when he went to check, “They [Mexican immigration officials in Tapachula] said, ‘okay, you can cross for three days because of the days of festivities.’”
Why Del Rio and not other, more trammeled parts of the Texas-Mexico border?
The reason, according to the migrants CIS interviewed, the Mexican cartels in this city do not involve themselves in human smuggling as they do in other parts of northern Mexico. Migrants who get to Acuna are free to cross themselves over the river without paying a tax or smuggling fee to ruthless Mexican cartels, with no fear of violent retribution for doing so on their own.
These accounts square with prior CIS reporting from the area in the spring of 2021, which found that immigrants who were increasingly arriving in Del Rio had already probed other areas from California to Texas but that fear and price-sensitivity led them to Del Rio. Word obviously has spread.
The migrants CIS spoke to all said they had heard from friends, relatives, and acquaintances on social media and by word of mouth that they didn’t have to pay anything to cross the Rio Grande here.
Some may be deported. But most likely will spend a day or two until they get temporary resident permits and a date to appear at an American immigration office in the city of their choice. Then under current Biden policies for families and unaccompanied minors, a great many will be released to travel anywhere in America, boarding yet more buses to those cities and towns.