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White House was aware in July of Haitian migrant surge headed to US: report

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The Biden administration knew in July that thousands of Haitians were heading to the US from Central and South America but failed to act in time to prevent the flood of illegal immigrants, according to a report. 

US Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis all had intelligence that large numbers of Haitians were heading to the US in July, NBC News reported.

But the information wasn’t shared across agencies or distributed widely enough in DHS ​to indicate the migrant group’s size, speed of travel or that they would arrive in the same place, according to the outlet.

​Even before the illegal immigrants arrived at Del Rio, Texas, factions inside the administration were dithering over whether to pick up the pace of deporting illegal Haitian ​immigrants already in the US. 

​A political battle broke out among progressives and others at DHS about whether the deportations would be inhumane in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti and the assassination of the country’s president.

Others believed the deportations would send a message to Haitians in South America not to travel to the US.

The progressives won, the report said, ​and the flights​ were delayed​. ​

They weren’t resumed until mid-September when nearly 20,000 Haitians were camped out under a bridge in Del Rio.​​ Eventually, the Biden administration deported 7,200 Haitians.​​

But as late as September, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was saying the government was caught off guard.​

​Even before the illegal immigrants arrived at Del Rio, Texas, factions inside the administration were dithering over whether to pick up the pace of deporting illegal Haitian ​immigrants already in the US.
​Even before the illegal immigrants arrived at Del Rio, Texas, factions inside the administration were dithering over whether to pick up the pace of deporting illegal Haitian ​immigrants already in the US.
REUTERS

“​​I don’t think we expected the rapidity of the increase that occurred​,” he said in an interview with NBC News on Sept. 20.​​

B​randon Judd, head of the National Border Patrol Council, the labor union representing Border Patrol agents, told Fox News ​last month ​that ​officials ​had received warnings about a mass of migrants heading toward Del Rio.

“They were warned that this bridge where these people are crossing — at this exact spot — there was an uptick in traffic, and the traffic continued to go up, and they were warned they needed to prepare, they needed to put operations in place to deal with a large influx of people and they didn’t,” ​Judd said.

T​he DHS is conducting an internal review of ​what led to the influx of migrants in Del Rio, the NBC report said, as thousands more gather in Colombia on their journey to the US. 

DHS spokeswoman Marsha Espinosa told NBC News in a statement that the response to Del Rio “was swift, immediately deploying personnel, basic services, food and drinking water, clothing, transportation, and medical resources.”

“In coordination with partners across the federal government, the Department assesses the operational need for removal and expulsion flights daily,” ​she said​ in the statement. 

“We are undertaking the monumental task to rebuild our previously decimated immigration system. Doing so requires that we address extremely complicated policy and operational issues. We not only respect differences of opinion; we encourage them as a hallmark of good ideas and good government​,” it added. ​

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