DEL RIO, Texas — A CBP law enforcement source speaking on the condition of anonymity notes this small border city currently leads the nation in Haitian migrant apprehensions after they illegally enter the United States. Since May 22, Border Patrol has stopped more than 1,800 after crossing the Rio Grande.
Nationwide and during the same time frame, Border Patrol apprehended roughly 2,600 Haitians. Del Rio accounts for 70 percent of the total.
The CBP source says the increase became more noticeable after DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the eligibility of Haitians for Temporary Protected Status on May 22:
Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. After careful consideration, we determined that we must do what we can to support Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve so they may safely return home.
Mayorkas designated an 18-month time frame for removal protection of those physically present in the United States as of May 21. These deadlines are generally extended–sometimes for years on end. Some critics argue this is a pull factor, encouraging illegal immigration from designated countries even if they will not qualify for the benefit.
The Border Patrol in Del Rio sees large groups of Haitians illegally enter the city almost daily. According to the source, on Monday, a group in excess of 100 was apprehended just south of the city.
The volume is causing concerns for residents and elected officials while straining local non-governmental agencies.
The increases near Del Rio forced Border Patrol to suspend the issuance of immigration court dates for removal and institute a speedy catch-and-release policy to avoid overcrowding.
Because of the relative safety of Ciudad Acuna, directly across from Del Rio, the area is a draw for large groups of Haitians, Venezuelans, Cubans, and Central Africans. Cartel violence has slowed in recent years when compared to other cities in Mexico along the border.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.