Del Rio’s growing crowd is Biden’s biggest immigration test yet: Here’s what we know

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After weeks of bad headlines for his administration regarding the withdrawal of US forces from Kabul, President Joe Biden now faces a new crisis as thousands of mostly Haitian migrants gather at the border of Texas and Mexico.

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The growing crowd, estimated by many news outlets and agencies on Monday, to between 12,000 and 14,000, presents the biggest challenge for Mr Biden on the issue of immigration, which has so far been little more than a consistent GOP talking point. Is. And a task entrusted to Vice President Kamala Harris.

The Biden administration and Republicans have battled in the press for months over the issue of immigration and the growing number of immigrants crossing the US border illegally or applying for asylum, with Democrats calling the Trump administration to break the US asylum system and make it difficult. blamed for leaving. functional, while Republicans have claimed that the reversal of Trump-era policies criticized for being inhumane were driving more migrants to North America.


Here’s what we know about the developing situation in Del Rio, Texas, and the broader implications for America and its government:

The crowd is growing, and showing little signs of slowing down

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A crowd that numbered just a few thousand last weekend could now rise to 14,000 as more and more migrants live in temporary camps originally confined to an area under an international bridge between Mexico and Texas. are included.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents did not respond to an emailed request for comment last week about what size the camps would be for US officials to safely manage. More agents were sent to the area on Monday as the situation in the area became increasingly chaotic.

Local officials acknowledged the possibility of thousands of people arriving over the weekend, but there is no indication when the camp will stop growing in size.

Many people have nothing to go back to in Haiti

reporting from the new York Times indicated that among the thousands of migrants who are currently awaiting action from CBP and other US agencies to determine their fate, they originally left Haiti for countries in South America, including Brazil and Chile, where they first left Haiti. Tried to establish life; Economic instability and the anti-black racism experienced by many in those countries prompted thousands to migrate north, however, Chile in particular tightened its immigration policies in response to the influx of migrants Is.

Thousands of people have been gathering in Mexican cities and towns in recent weeks before arriving in Del Rio, and are desperate to settle anywhere as their home country has been faced with more and more problems in recent months after devastating tropical storms, earthquakes and have faced. murder of its president

The historic devastation on the island nation already facing a crisis of poverty has left many with no choice but to leave their homeland to find economic and personal fortune elsewhere.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was pressed on Monday by a reporter who asked, “What are you sending them back?”

“Our aim and our focus is not only in implementing current immigration policies,” she claimed, adding that the administration was also working to provide assistance, including “financial assistance” to returnees to Haiti.

Shocking images on Monday showed migrants on horseback

If the visuals of more than 10,000 migrants congregating by the river in small camps weren’t enough of a nightmare for the Biden administration, the White House was also on board on Monday after CBP agents released shocking videos and photos of them on horseback. After that came under fire. Driving away migrants and attempting to drive them back from certain areas, in some cases facing people in waist-deep water.

Photos showed a handful of agents holding the rein leather straps of their horses, as it was not immediately clear whether that was sanctioned by the CBP or whether agents were physically using it for that purpose against migrants. Were.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was questioned about the images, which she agreed were shocking and, saying she didn’t have all the facts, couldn’t imagine a situation where something like this The action was justified.

Criticism moves to the left as conservatives continue to beat Biden at the crossing

Conservatives have been attacking the White House for months over the number of border crossings at the US-Mexico border, a favorite issue, but the situation in Texas has now prompted progressives and immigration activists to fire at the president as well. has done.

The allegations of agents using whips against migrants quickly escalated criticism, with lawmakers on Capitol Hill joining in.

“We are still killing black bodies in 2021,” tweeted Democrat Rep. Jamal Bowman, a black freshman. “Shame on us as a nation. For our inhumanity.”

“It doesn’t matter whether a Democrat or a Republican is the president, our immigration system is designed to brutalize and dehumanize immigrants,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Immigration should not be a crime, and criminalizing it is a relatively recent invention. It is a blot on our country.”

Biden administration sticks to the message of ‘don’t come’ to America

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyercas on Monday became the first high-ranking administration official to visit the scene directly in Del Rio, where he delivered a strong message to others seeking to immigrate to the US with the intention of crossing the border illegally .

“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be turned back. Your trip will not be successful and you will put your life and the lives of your family at risk,” Mr. Meyerkas said. “This administration is committed to developing safe, orderly and humane routes to migration. This is not the way to do it.”

He clarified that many of the Del Rio camps were now under the erroneous claim that Haitians were currently designated under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which Mr Meyerkas said only applied to those who died on 29 July. had arrived before.

Ms. Psaki also said from backstage at the White House on Monday that the US was emphasizing the risk of Covid-19 infection posed by immigrants gathering in such close quarters with such large numbers, thought the concern had already struck. It has done little to discourage many. treacherous journey.


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