News & Politics

DHS Secretary Mayorkas in Del Rio, Texas: 'Our Border Is Not Open'

(YouTube screenshot)

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited the Del Rio, Texas, border station today amid a surge of Haitian immigrants to the sector. Mayorkas toured the border facilities and then held a press conference. The message from Mayorkas and other officials who spoke was clear: The border is closed to “irregular migration.” It is estimated that as many as 15,000 illegal immigrants are waiting under the international bridge in Del Rio in 100-degree temperatures awaiting processing.

In his speech, Mayorkas said that anyone awaiting processing at the border who did not have a legal basis to remain would be subject to expedited removal. He shared that DHS is conducting regular expulsion removal flights to Haiti, Mexico, Ecuador, and other Northern Triangle countries. To discourage further migration, he said, “We are very concerned Haitians who are taking this irregular migration path are receiving false information that the border is open or that Temporary Protect Status is available.” Mayorkas added, “I want to make sure it is known that this is not the way to come to the United States.”

“We have reiterated that our border is not open,” he insisted.

He went on to tell potential migrants that the trip was not worth the tragedy, the money, or the effort. Mayorkas reiterated that only Haitians living in the United States before July 29, when the Haitian president was assassinated, would be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). “If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned,” Mayorkas warned, citing the dangers to the health and safety of border communities and the illegal immigrants.

Julio Rosas from our sister site Townhall, is reporting from Del Rios this week.

At the press conference, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Troy Miller discussed a whole-of-government approach. “CBP’s message to anyone thinking of entering the United States illegally along the southern border is clear and simple. Our borders are not open.”

Miller warned, “Entering the country illegally is a dangerous undertaking. Don’t put your life or put your family’s safety in the hands of smugglers or other criminals who tell you our borders are open. Don’t do it.”

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Miller then turned to the microphone over to Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz. Ortiz said the response to the crisis in Del Rio includes local, state, and NGO partners in addition to federal resources. Ortiz talked about the mobilization of resources to the Del Rio sector, which consists of 600 agents from various agencies and medical support personnel. Ortiz reiterated that the Del Rio point of entry remains closed. He shared that CBP and ICE had transported 2,500 illegal immigrants to other processing centers, and he expects the number of expulsion flights to increase.

“I talked yesterday about how so much of this migration is driven through social media and word of mouth,” Ortiz said. “And smugglers are significant drivers of the misinformation that gets people to undertake these dangerous journeys.” He talked about the dangers in the journey to the southern border, and the role smugglers play in encouraging the traffic through dangerous terrain. “The message is clear, do not attempt the journey,” Ortiz emphasized.

This rhetoric is some of the strongest from the Biden administration discouraging illegal immigrants from coming to the border. A reporter from Univision asked about reports of a similar caravan heading towards Reynosa, Mexico, across the border from Hidalgo, Texas. Mayorkas reiterated that irregular migration is perilous and that our border is not open. The United States continues to enforce the CDC’s Title 42 order on illegal entry, which the agency renewed on August 2, 2021.

The surge to the Del Rio sector follows roughly 200,000 Border Patrol contacts in August. According to projections, the southern border will see as many as two million illegal crossings in 2021.

WATCH the full press conference: