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Disappearing Act: Where Did All The Haitian Refugees in Texas Go?

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

On Sunday, there were 14,000 Haitian refugees camped under a bridge near the border crossing of Del Rio, Texas. Now, the latest reports are that there are about 8,000 left under the bridge.

Where did they all go?

The Biden administration signaled they were going to get tough on the Haitians by sticking them on planes and sending them back to Haiti. But surely that can’t account for the disappearance of 6,000 Haitians.

Do the math. We’re told that the flights to Haiti are carrying about 100 passengers each. We’re also told there are seven flights a day. At that rate, it would take more than a week to carry 6,000 refugees back to Haiti.

Where did they all go?

The Associated Press knows. The AP reports that most of the refugees were simply handed a slip of paper with an order to report to an immigration court within 60 days.

And then they were released into the interior of the United States.

A second U.S. official, also with direct knowledge and speaking on the condition of anonymity, said large numbers of Haitians were being processed under immigration laws and not being placed on expulsion flights to Haiti that started Sunday. The official couldn’t be more specific about how many.

U.S. authorities scrambled in recent days for buses to Tucson but resorted to flights when they couldn’t find enough transportation contractors, both officials said. Coast Guard planes took Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso.

The releases in the U.S. were occurring despite the signaling of a massive effort to expel Haitians on flights to Haiti under pandemic-related authority that denies migrants an opportunity to seek asylum. A third U.S. official not authorized to discuss operations said there were seven daily flights to Haiti planned starting Wednesday.

The Biden administration can’t get rid of these people fast enough. Anything to get the unsightly mess off the news channels and social media.

The president sees this as a public relations problem, not a policy issue. But it’s a PR problem being handled under the guise of national security so that it’s easier to hide from the press and the voters.

Accounts of wide-scale releases — some observed at the Del Rio bus station by Associated Press journalists — are at odds with statements a day earlier by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who traveled to Del Rio to promise swift action.

“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,” he said at a Monday news conference.

That, of course, is a lie. Mayorkas was instructed to lie by his superior, the president of the United States. There is no great affair of state that would justify the lie — only the prospect of negative news coverage.

The Haitians are desperate to leave their country. Those who have already been sent back are trying to return.

In Haiti, dozens of migrants upset about being deported from the U.S. tried to rush back into a plane that landed Tuesday afternoon in Port-au-Prince as they yelled at authorities. A security guard closed the plane door in time as some deportees began throwing rocks and shoes at the plane. Several of them lost their belongings in the scuffle as police arrived. The group was disembarking from one of three flights scheduled for the day.

This humanitarian crisis rests solely and exclusively on the shoulders of Joe Biden. It isn’t only that he reversed several policies of his predecessor that were successful in reducing the number of illegal border crossings. He and his administration actively encouraged refugees and illegal immigrants to come.

Now that it’s blowing up in his face, he’s either trying to blame Trump or hide the problem from a news media that is predisposed to give their man a break and downplay his administration’s errors and incompetence.

“Out of sight, out of mind” might work for the present, but many Americans have much longer memories and will remember on Election Day.