Photos and video were released of the almost 15,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, congregating under a bridge in a Texas border town over the weekend. Overcrowding and pleas from local politicians and border patrol agents prompted the Department of Homeland Security to expel over 6,000 Haitians on flights back to Haiti.
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been pathetically absent from the increasing crisis their administration created at the southern border. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was forced to take action and issued a statement that was long overdue.
“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life” said Mayorkas. The expulsion of the 6,000 migrants, with more on the way, is legal action the U.S. can take, thanks to a pandemic-related authority implemented by former President Donald Trump in March of 2020.
President Biden upheld Trump’s policy but exempted unaccompanied children. As of Saturday, a peak number of 14,872 migrants were at the bridge trying to get into the United States. Mayorkas said 600 Homeland Security employees, including Coast Guard, have been brought to the border town to aid in the border chaos.
Photos and video emerged of officials on horseback trying to keep migrants from crossing the river which prompted White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki to finally make a comment regarding the border. She took the chance to chastise the very people her boss forced into the situation.
“I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it acceptable or appropriate” Psaki said of the “horrific” footage and called for an investigation. A solution to the border crisis itself, however, was not discussed.
In an afternoon news conference, both Mayorkas and U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said they did not see anything obviously wrong from the photos and videos. Mayorkas even explains agents use long reins, not whips, to control their horses. Ortiz mentioned it can be confusing to distinguish migrants from smugglers as people frantically cross the river back and forth.
Later on Monday, the Department of Homeland Security did issue a statement calling the footage “extremely troubling” and promised an investigation to “define the appropriate disciplinary actions to be taken.”
Mayorkas, DHS Further Diminish ICE Powers by Limiting Worksite Raids; Blame ‘Exploitative Employers’
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has just taken even more responsibility off illegal immigrants and placed it on the shoulders of employers and ICE instead. In a memo to acting ICE Director Tae Johnson, “Mayorkas argued that enforcement operations could be more effective when directed at employers of illegal immigrants, instead of immigrants themselves” reports National Review.
“The deployment of mass worksite operations, sometimes resulting in the simultaneous arrest of hundreds of workers, was not focused on the most pernicious aspect of our country’s unauthorized employment challenge: exploitative employers. These highly visible operations misallocated enforcement resources while chilling, and even serving as a tool of retaliation for, worker cooperation in workplace standards investigations.”
A Department of Homeland Security press release was almost identical:
“Under the [Trump] administration, these resource-intensive operations resulted in the simultaneous arrest of hundreds of workers and were used as a tool by exploitative employers to suppress and retaliate against workers’ assertion of labor laws.”
Mayorkas has been making moves in this new direction for months. National Review writes:
Mayorkas previously directed Immigration, Customs and Enforcement to prioritize undocumented immigrants who are deemed to pose a threat to public safety for deportation, as opposed to migrants who are deemed “contributing” members of society.
“The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them,” Mayorkas wrote in new enforcement guidelines on September 30. “We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way.”
Border Patrol agents encountered 212,672 migrants at the border in July, the first time in 21 years that monthly encounters breached 200,000. In August Border Patrol agents logged 208,887 migrant encounters, with over a million people entering the U.S. illegally since the start of this year.
DHS Announces New Rules To Cut Back On Deportations
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered authorities to prioritize deporting illegal immigrants who “pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security” because the government does not have enough resources to handle the record-breaking illegal immigration that has occurred under President Biden’s administration.
“The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen, therefore, should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wrote in a memo. “We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way. Justice and our country’s well-being require it.”
The memo further outlines “mitigating factors” that would prevent the deportation of an illegal immigrant who had committed a crime. Among the factors listed are: “advanced or tender age; lengthy presence in the United States; a mental condition that may have contributed to the criminal conduct, or a physical or mental condition requiring care or treatment.”
The New York Post reported, “The guidance, which is due to take effect Nov. 29, replaces interim rules issued in February that were initially blocked by a federal judge in August as part of a lawsuit brought by Texas and Louisiana. The judge ruled that the administration did not have discretion to choose which migrants to detain, but a federal appeals court allowed the guidelines to take effect while the lawsuit proceeds.”
The February rules are suspected to be a large factor in the surge in illegal immigration seen this year as migrants knew that their likelihood of being able to remain in the United States was much greater. The February Memorandum led to record low deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while there was simultaneously record high illegal immigration.
The Washington Post reported in May, “Under new Biden administration rules curtailing immigration enforcement, ICE carried out fewer than 3,000 deportations last month, the lowest level on record. The agency’s 6,000 officers currently average one arrest every two months.”
“ICE under President Biden is an agency on probation,” the Washington Post continued. “The new administration has rejected calls from some Democrats to eliminate the agency entirely, but Biden has placed ICE deportation officers on a leash so tight that some say their work is being functionally abolished.”
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