‘Biden is handling the border crisis as badly as Afghanistan’: Texas Gov. Abbott slams president for ‘complete disarray’ at the border with agents ‘overwhelmed’ as number of Haitian migrants swells to 12,000
- The Texas governor announced he was sending National Guard troops to ‘deter crossings’ at ports Thursday
- Abbott said he was shutting down six ports of entry – before backtracking and accusing the Biden administration of ‘flip-flopping’ on its efforts to ‘secure the border’
- CBP said Texas does not have the authority to shutter the ports and did not ask the state to do so
- Around 12,000 mostly Haitian migrants have gathered in a camp at the Del Rio bridge, Texas
- The camp is said to have ballooned after Joe Biden paused deportation flights back to Haiti
- New aerial footage, shot by Fox News Friday, reveals streams of people continuing to enter the camp
PUBLISHED: 22:37 AEST, 17 September 2021 | UPDATED: 06:26 AEST, 18 September 2021 3.4kView comments
Governor Greg Abbott has slammed Joe Biden for the ‘complete disarray’ at the US-Mexico border which has left agents ‘overwhelmed’ as the number of Haitian migrants camped out under a bridge in Texas has now swelled to around 12,000.
The Texas governor announced he was sending National Guard troops and officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety to the state’s ports of entry to ‘deter crossings’ as he compared the migrant crisis to the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
‘The Biden administration is in complete disarray and is handling the border crisis as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan,’ he said.
Abbott made the announcement Thursday, just hours after he said he was shutting down six ports of entry – before backtracking one hour later and accusing the Biden administration of ‘flip-flopping’ on its efforts to ‘secure the border.’
Around 12,000 mostly Haitian migrants have gathered at the Del Rio Port of Entry and the International Bridge in the city of Del Rio, Texas, in recent days, in a temporary camp which is said to have ballooned after Joe Biden paused deportation flights back to Haiti.
New aerial footage, shot by Fox News Friday, reveals streams of people continuing to cross over the Rio Grande river from Mexico into Texas and joining the already overflowing camp.
New aerial footage, shot by Fox News Friday, reveals streams of people continuing to cross over the Rio Grande river from Mexico into Texas and joining the already overflowing camp +38
The footage was captured by Fox’s national correspondent Bill Melugin from a Texas Public Safety (TPS) helicopter+38
Haitian migrants use a dam to cross to and from the US from Mexico, Friday, as they are said to be returning to Mexico for basic supplies+38
Thousands of migrants are currently living in the makeshift camp in squalid conditions with a lack of clean water and food +38
Migrants wait Thursday under and around the international bridge between Del Rio and Ciudad Acuna, Mexico to be processed+38
Migrants camp out Thursday by the International Bridge in the city of Del Rio, Texas, which connects the US to Mexico+38
Thousands of migrants are currently living under the bridge in cramped, squalid conditions after crossing the border into US+38
More than 10,000 mostly Haitian migrants have gathered there in recent days, in the temporary camp which has have ballooned since Joe Biden halted deportation flights back to Haiti +38
Most of the migrants have fled to the country from Haiti – where the country is in turmoil after the assassination of its president and a huge earthquake last month https://players.brightcove.net/4137224153001/6aIMRO3kiI_default/index.html?videoId=6273036277001
Why Haitians are fleeing to America:
Thousands of Haitians are traveling to Mexico and crossed the border into Texas at a time when the Caribbean nation is being ravaged by political and economic turmoil and hammered by natural disasters.
In early July, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home of Port-au-Prince in a dramatic plot which authorities are yet to determine who the mastermind was.
The murder threw the troubled nation into uncertainty with gun battles breaking out in the streets and a fight over who was the rightful successor as questions continued to mount about a possible inside job.
This week, Haiti’s chief prosecutor said there was evidence linking the country’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry to the plot and banned him from leaving the country until he answers questions about his potential involvement.
One month after the assassination, the island nation was dealt another blow as a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck in August.
More than 2,200 people were killed and 100,000 homes destroyed.
This marks the biggest natural disaster Haiti has seen since the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in January 2010 which killed over 200,000 people.
The nation was still recovering from the devastation it wrought and its economy was already in tatters as the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.
Most Haitians who have traveled to the border in recent weeks are thought to have already been living in South America after the 2010 earthquake.
Many have then traveled up through Mexico into the US recently – likely driven by the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on South America and the pause on deportation flights to Haiti.
Data released by Border Patrol shows 28,000 Haitians have been arrested along the border this fiscal year, which began last October.
This dwarfs the 2020 number of 4,395 and 2,046 in 2019.
The footage was captured by Fox’s national correspondent Bill Melugin from a Texas Public Safety (TPS) helicopter after the Biden administration was accused of trying to cover up the extent of the migrant crisis by issuing a flight ban over the US-Mexico border.
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) implemented a two-week flight ban over the bridge Thursday night to stop drones capturing footage of the thousands of people living camped out under the Del Rio bridge.
The agency claimed the move was for ‘special security reasons’ to prevent ‘drones interfering with law enforcement flights on the border’.
The ban effectively grounded a Fox News drone hours after the network released shocking footage showing thousands of migrants living in squalor under the bridge as they crossed the US’s southern border and waited to be processed by Border Patrol.
Abbott claimed Thursday had been asked by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to shutter the points of entry along the border to ‘stop these caravans from overrunning our state’.
However, just one hour later, he backpedaled on the unprecedented move, claiming the Biden administration had ‘flip-flopped’ on its request.
‘Six hours after US Customs and Border Protection requested help from Texas to close ports of entry and secure the border, the Biden administration has now flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security and instead makes it easier for people to cross illegally and for cartels to exploit the border,’ he said in a statement.
Instead, Abbott directed troops to ‘maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.’
The DHS denied asking for help and saying it would be a violation of federal law if Texas closed the ports, because only the federal government has the power to do so.
‘[The Biden administration] is not seeking assistance from the State of Texas to shut down ports of entry,’ it said in a statement.
‘It would be a violation of federal law for the Texas National Guard to unilaterally do so,’ the statement said.
The president paused deportation flights of migrants to Haiti and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended temporary protected status (TPS) to Haitian nationals after the country was rocked by its biggest crises since the 2010 earthquake.
Under TPS, foreign nationals cannot be deported back to countries hit by natural or manmade disasters, enabling Haitians to live in the US without legal status to qualify for provisional residency.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz blamed this pause for the dramatic surge in people arriving at the camp. He told Fox Thursday that, in the space of just eight days, the population at the camp surged from 700 on September 8 to 10,503 on September 16.
However, Biden is facing a backlash from both sides of the political aisle over the increasing crisis under the Del Rio bridge, as it has emerged that the president has quietly resumed deportation flights this week.
Witness at the Border revealed that flights deporting Haitians began again this week, reported CNN.
The DHS also admitted that 86 Haitian nationals were loaded onto a flight by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and sent back to the Caribbean country Wednesday. +38
Governor Greg Abbott has slammed Joe Biden for the ‘complete disarray’ at the US-Mexico border which has left agents ‘overwhelmed’ as the number of Haitian migrants camped out under a bridge in Texas has now swelled to around 12,000
Migrants gather at the camp under the bridge in Del Rio, Texas, as they wait to be processed by Border Patrol agents Around 12,000 mostly Haitian migrants have gathered at the Del Rio Port of Entry and the International Bridge in the city of Del Rio, Texas, in recent days
The temporary camp which is said to have ballooned after President Joe Biden paused deportation flights back to Haiti
They were deported under the Title 42 order – a Trump-era policy where migrants are repatriated to their home nations without the possibility of requesting asylum due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A group of Democrats have blasted the president for sending people back to the Caribbean nation which is in economic and political turmoil after the July assassination of its president and was ravaged by an August earthquake which killed over 2,200 people.
More than 50 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to DHS and Health and Human Services Friday calling on them to halt the deportations.
‘The Haitian government’s ability to safely receive its citizens will take months, if not years, to secure,’ they wrote.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat, slammed the deportations ‘cruel and callous’ and called on Biden to end Title 42.
‘The Biden Administration must immediately halt all deportations to Haiti, return these individuals to the United States, and abandon the harmful Title 42 order that has been weaponized to deny families their fundamental right to seek asylum,’ said Pressley, according to The Hill.
‘The Biden Administration has a moral obligation to lead with compassion and support those fleeing from the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Haiti.’
On Thursday, a federal judge ordered the Biden administration to stop using Title 42, but the order will not take effect for 14 days.
The Biden administration has been accused of trying to cover up the extent of the migrant crisis after the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) issued a flight ban over the US-Mexico border to stop drones capturing footage of the more than 10,000 people living camped out under a bridge+38
The footage shows thousands of mostly Haitian migrants gathered under the bridge after crossing the US-Mexico border
Judge Emmett Sullivan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia said the policy denies migrants the ‘opportunity to seek humanitarian benefits.’
Biden has long pledged to create a more ‘humane’ immigration system to his predecessor Trump.
Leaked documents, obtained by NBC News, reveal the administration is planning to dramatically ramp up the deportation of Haitians over the coming weeks.
The ICE has eight deportation flights to Haiti planned for next week, rising to 10 per week thereafter.
Each flight can carry around 135 migrant passengers, reported NBC.
The documents also reveal there will be lateral flights to take migrants to other parts of the US for processing to reduce the vast numbers camping out in Del Rio.
The number of people crossing the southern border from Mexico into the US has surged in recent months to record numbers not seen in two decades, after Biden overturned some of Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies.
In July, the numbers reached a 20-year high with more than 200,000 people crossing into the US from Mexico while another 195,000 migrants were detained last month.
Border Patrol is struggling to process the sheer volume, as around 60,000 Afghans also expected to be resettled in America after the US pulled all troops out of the country in August.
Now, thousands more are now fleeing to the US from Haiti after the Caribbean nation plunged into turmoil this summer with the assassination of its president followed by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in August, which killed more than 2,200 people and destroyed 100,000 homes.
Others have traveled from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, with many paying human smugglers to help them make the perilous journey across the Rio Grande River.
Border patrol officials have said there are only 20 portable toilets at the site where over 10,000 are currently staying
Migrants cross the Rio Grande river – which connects the US and Mexico – close to the bridge which is now their temporary home
Migrants seeking asylum in the US walk in the Rio Grande river near the International Bridge between Mexico and the US Thursday as they wait to be processed, in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico
Food and water has been scarce in the makeshift camp, and temperatures have risen to around 99 Fahrenheit