U.S. Border Crisis Live Updates: Haitian Migrants Attempt to Rush Back Onto Plane After Deportation Flight Lands

Live Updates

The Biden administration has ramped up deportation efforts at the U.S.-Mexico border, sending back thousands of migrants who had gathered at the Del Rio bridge in Texas.

An estimated 10,000 migrants are still waiting to be processed, many of them Haitians fleeing violence and economic ruin following July's assassination of the country's president and a major earthquake in August that destroyed over 100,000 homes.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Haitian migrants moved through Mexico at an "unprecedented" speed.

However, Mayorkas assured the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday that the southern border "is no less secure than it was previously."

There are growing humanitarian concerns, with migrants sleeping amid growing piles of garbage, and videos appearing to show Border Patrol agents using whips to drive back migrants near the bridge.

The live updates for this blog have ended.

Haitian deportees tried to rush back onto a plane after it landed in Haiti, AP reports

Dozens of Haitian migrants deported from the U.S. tried to rush back on a plane after it landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press, the migrants threw rocks and shoes at the plane as a security guard quickly closed the plane door.

Police soon arrived and several of the deportees lost their belongings in a "scuffle," AP reported.

This group was on one of three deportation flights that were scheduled to leave the U.S. that day.

Haitian migrants reportedly crossed the border in Arizona

Two senior federal law enforcement officials said more than 1,000 Haitian migrants crossed the southern border in Arizona Tuesday, according to Washington Examiner reporter Anna Giartelli.

There are currently thousands of Haitian migrants seeking asylum in the border city of Del Rio, Texas.

SCOOP: 1,000+ Haitian migrants illegally crossed the border in Arizona Tuesday, per two senior fed law enforcement officials

Yuma is 981 miles from Del Rio. pic.twitter.com/YO0ModBcLa

— Anna Giaritelli (@Anna_Giaritelli) September 22, 2021

Maxine Waters says treatment of Haitian migrants "takes us back 100 years"

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus spoke on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon in support of the Haitian migrants seeking asylum at the southern border.

Representatives Yvette Clarke, Maxine Waters and Sheila Jackson Lee, along with other representatives, condemned the practices of the border agents against Haitian asylum seekers and called for an end to the deportation flights to Haiti.

"What we witnessed takes us back hundreds of years," Representative Waters said. "What we witnessed was worse than what we witnessed in slavery."

Haitians fleeing violence & the lack of a credible government in Haiti are being treated like animals. U.S. government cowboys on horses used whips on Haitians as they sought refuge. Why are we following the Trump policies? This horrendous treatment of Haitians must STOP NOW.

— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) September 21, 2021

CBP officers in "horrific" video going after Haitian migrants were placed on leave, Pskai says

During a press briefing Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents seen going after Haitian migrants at the southern border have been put on administrative leave.

She said the CBP officers on horses in the "horrific" viral video and images used "brutal and inappropriate measures against innocent people."

Psaki added that the Department of Homeland Security investigation into the incident will be completed by next week.

Texas rep. warns of 'chaotic situation' at Del Rio camp in coming days

Texas Rep. Tony Gonzalez warned of rising tensions and a worsening situation at the migrant encampment in the small border town of Del Rio during a phone call with the Washington Examiner.

Gonzales represents the area in Texas where thousands of Haitian migrants and others have gathered. He said that based on the information he receives from law enforcement, residents and the U.S. and Mexican governments, the small border town could soon "get bad."

"And the reason being is there's still this impression that 'come to Del Rio and you'll be released,'" Gonzales said in the phone call. "Then all of a sudden you're being told, 'Hey, we're going to fly you back to Haiti.' There's a lot at stake, and a lot of people aren't going to accept that. Right? So, it's going to get worse before it gets better."

Some migrants have been refusing deportation, and Gonzalez cautioned that as migrants see others being expelled, it could "attract even more of a chaotic situation."

"It's just an absolute powder keg just waiting to happen," he said.

Miami protestors rally against deportation of Haitian asylum seekers

Dozens of people are protesting in Miami against the treatment of Haitian migrants at the southern border.

The protestors, many of whom are the children of Haitian immigrants, are calling on the Biden administration to stop the deportations of Haitian asylum seekers.

The American children of Haitians who arrived by boat to the US in the 80s say they are fighting the same fight their parents fought then... chanting, "Stop Deportations" pic.twitter.com/bScmw9tlpa

— Nadege Green (@NadegeGreen) September 22, 2021

Many believe the deportation policies are racist, chanting, "If Haiti was white would it bother you? Biden I got a question for you," according to WLRN reporter Danny Rivero.

Others expressed their frustration with President Joe Biden directly, saying he is breaking promises he made to the Little Haiti community when he campaigned there, Rivero reported.

Protesters have taken over NW 7th Avenue at Little River Dr in Miami. Calling on Biden Admin to end to deportations and better treatment of Haitian asylum seekers. pic.twitter.com/t2NT6nnUZI

— Danny Rivero (@TooMuchMe) September 22, 2021

The demonstration began outside of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) building in Miami. According to Washington Post reporter Tim Craig, the protests shut down North West 7th Avenue.

Mayorkas denies it is a "ripe opportunity" for terrorists to cross the southern border

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was asked several times during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing to share the number of known or suspected terrorists captured at the southern border.

Mayorkas would not provide those figures during the public hearing, saying "I'll be pleased to provide that to you in a classified context."

Republican Representative Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee asked Mayorkas if now is "the ripe opportunity" for terrorists, like those part of al-Qaida and ISIS, to cross the southern border.

Secretary Mayorkas answered with a simple "no."

Haitian migrants reached U.S. border with "unprecedented speed," Mayorkas says

During the House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the speed by which Haitian migrants moved to the U.S. border is "unprecedented."

He classified the movement of Haitians through Mexico as "rapid, irregular migration."

"The speed with which this materialized is unprecedented," he said.

He added that DHS has "surged resources to the border."

Mitch McConnell says border situation is a "textbook failure" of leadership

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the current situation at the southern border represents a "textbook failure of presidential leadership."

He adds that migrants seeking to enter the U.S. have been "lured" by "Democrats' misleading messages."

"Our citizens deserve better and so do the vulnerable people who have been lured into nightmarish conditions by Democrats' misleading messages and failed policies," McConnell said in a tweet.

America is watching a terrible sight unfold on our southern border. A textbook failure of presidential leadership. Our citizens deserve better and so do the vulnerable people who have been lured into nightmarish conditions by Democrats' misleading messages and failed policies.

— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) September 22, 2021

DHS aims to ensure "humane" pathways for asylum seekers

Secretary Mayorkas said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a "multi-part plan" to address problems in the U.S. asylum process.

The plan includes addressing "the root causes of migration" and ensuring that there are "safe, orderly and humane" pathways for migrants "so people do not take the danger to make the claim of asylum," Mayorkas said.

Retired Border Patrol chief says "our borders has disintegrated overnight"

During the House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday, Republican representatives submitted a letter from retired Chief of U.S. Border Patrol Rodney Scott.

In the letter to leading members of Congress, Scott calls out the Biden administration's ineffective policy at the southern border.

"Control of our borders has disintegrated overnight," he wrote.

"It is my professional assessment that transitional criminal organization and other more dangerous actions are increasingly exploiting identified border security vulnerabilities," Scott said. "The threats are real and the situation is unsustainable yet the current administration refuses to take any meaningful action."

Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said he "respectfully disagrees" with Scott's assessment of the situation at the border. He said that the border "is no less secure than it was previously."

This is a scathing indictment of Sec Mayorkas & the Biden admin's inability to secure our homeland. We submitted this letter for the record. Chief Scott should have the opportunity to testify before Congress & Americans deserve to know the truth.⬇️⬇️ https://t.co/tsoRsWRUZc

— House Homeland GOP (@HomelandGOP) September 22, 2021

Representative asks for suspension of Title 42 for Haitian migrants

During the House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee called for the suspension of Title 42 at the border.

Title 42 allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prohibit entry or expel persons who potentially pose a health risk. President Donald Trump enacted this policy in March 2020 in accordance with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Biden administration has continued this policy.

Department of Homeland Security Mayorkas said that Title 42 is "not an immigration policy, but a public health policy" driven by the CDC assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the devastating conditions around the Haitian migrants at the Southern Border, I am calling on the immediate suspension of Title 42. pic.twitter.com/C6KVbqUruv

— Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) September 22, 2021

"Our border is not out first line of defense," Mayorkas says

During the House Homeland Security Committee hearing, DHS Secretary Mayorkas was asked to address a comment he made that "if our borders are the first line of defense, we're going to lose and this is unsustainable."

This comment came from leaked audio of a conversation Mayorkas had with a Texas Border Patrol agent in April.

At Wednesday's hearing, Mayorkas pushed back on House GOP accusations that the Biden administration has open borders.

"Our border is not our first line of defense," he said. "We have a multi-layered strategy that includes our borders to the south," including Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.

Cuba's Foreign Minister says U.S. Border Patrol expressed 'racist contempt' for Haitians

US law enforcement agents abuse Haitian immigrants, thereby expressing their racist contempt.

The root causes of immigration should be erradicated without repression. pic.twitter.com/x1UJXfWCXQ

— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) September 22, 2021

Images of border agents treatment of Haitian migrants "do not reflect who we are as a country," Mayorkas says

During the House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas addressed the treatment of border patrol agents' treatment of Haitian migrants at the southern border.

In his opening statement, Mayorkas said the images "do not reflect who we are as a country, nor do they reflect who the United States Customs and Border Protection."

He added that DHS is working to address the issue with "tremendous speed and tremendous force."

'Horrified' Secretary of Homeland Security vows to investigate Border Patrol video

Responding on Tuesday to images apparently showing U.S. Border Patrol agents rounding up migrants on horseback, Alejandro Mayorkas said he was "horrified" and that he does not want to "diminish the humane issue that it presents" while also pledging to remove illegal migrants.

An investigation is being led by the Office of Professional Responsibility, which said it will deploy personnel full time to monitor the situation in Del Rio.

Mayorkas said yesterday he expects a "dramatic change" in the number of migrants in the next week as the removal process continues.

FULL STORY: Defense Department Assisting With Expelling Haitian Migrants From Texas Border Town

Kamala Harris goes viral on Twitter after criticizing Border Patrol

A video of the Vice President's angry response to images of Border Patrol agents on horseback with reins to deal with migrants has been viewed more than one million times on the social media platform.

Harris made the comments after video and photographs emerged of horse-riding agents chasing Haitian migrants along the Rio Grande and trying to prevent them from returning to a camp underneath the Del Rio International Bridge.

DHS data shows shocking jump in apprehensions, inadmissions, and expulsions at U.S. border

Figures from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) show there have been over 200,000 "encounters" with migrants and refugees at the Southwestern land border in both July and August, compared to well under 100,000 in 2019.

DHS defines "encounters" as the detainment of illegal migrants, the number of people inadmissible to the U.S., and expulsion of people in the U.S. on public health grounds.

The total number this year has already hit over 1.5 million - more than 50 percent higher than the same period in 2019.

Southwest Land Border Encounters by Month
Southwest Land Border Encounters by Month U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Top UN official claims deportation of Haitians 'inconsistent' with international law

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said he was "shocked" by the "deplorable conditions" in Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of Haitians are waiting to attempt entry into the U.S.

I was shocked by images of the deplorable conditions beneath the concrete highway overpass in Del Rio, Texas, where more than 14,000 Haitians had gathered after arduous journeys from a number of countries in the Americas. The summary, mass expulsions of individuals currently underway under the Title 42 authority, without screening for protection needs, is inconsistent with international norms and may constitute refoulement.

According to the UN, a now customary rule of international law is that "a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom."

Grandi pushed for the Biden administration to "lift its Title 42 restrictions in effect since March of 2020" a controversial Trump-era rule "which continues to deny most people arriving at the southwest US land border any opportunity to request asylum".

Why are so many people fleeing Haiti for the U.S.?

Thousands of families are fleeing after a series of political and natural disasters in the country.

In July, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated and prompted a collapse in government control, leading to widespread violence, gang takeovers, and economic turmoil.

Just weeks into the chaos, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit the country and devastated many towns and cities. The current death toll stands at over 2,000 people. Over 100,000 homes and many other buildings were destroyed, sparking a homelessness crisis in what were already dangerous parts of the country.

As a result, thousands have been fleeing to countries in South America - many choosing to seek asylum in Chile - but some have traveled through the continent to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they hope to seek refuge.

Clashes between Haitian deportees and U.S. officials

The first deportation flights from the U.S. to Haiti saw scuffles as dozens of deportees attempted to get back on the plane after it landed.

Dozens clashed with U.S. authorities yesterday after a flight landed in Port-au-Prince, with a security guard closing the plane door to avoid a rush of people back onto the aircraft.

The group included men and women from the second of four flights that arrived in the Haitian capital on Tuesday, with some temporarily losing their belongings in the scuffle as police arrived.

Mexico stops border buses to prevent migrants reaching U.S. towns

Routes in the state of Coahuila have been halted and the U.S. government has closed the bridge connecting Ciudad Acuña and Del Rio as of yesterday, according to Luis Ángel Urraza, president of the local chamber of commerce.

He said the closure is weighing on businesses in the area, who are waiting for the migrant population to drop enough for the bridge to be reopened again.

FULL STORY: Mexico Halts Some Bus Lines From Operation to Prevent Carrying Migrants to Border Towns

Haitians being released into U.S. on a 'very, very large scale'

An anonymous official told Associated Press that many Haitian migrants have been released with notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days. The outcome requires less processing time from Border Patrol agents than ordering an appearance in immigration court.

If the reports are proven, it would undermine statements made by the Biden administration that those camping out in border towns would face immediate deportation.

Newsweek has approached the Department of Homeland Security for comment.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

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