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Tag: immigration

DOJ Reviews Preliminary Probe into Border Patrol Agents’ Handling of Haitian Migrants

By Steve Neavling

Viral images of Border Patrol agents on horses trying to block Haitian migrants from entering Del Rio, Texas, sparked outrage, and Homeland Security officials pledged a swift investigation. 

More than month later, the agents have not yet been questioned, ABC News reports, citing a law enforcement official.

Homeland Security officials have declined to comment on the investigation. 

The Justice Department has received a preliminary report from the CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which was investigating. No decision has been made on whether criminal charges are warranted. 

According to one law enforcement official, the internal investigation could only proceed – and the agents interviewed – when the U.S. attorney made a decision. 

“The investigation is ongoing,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News. “The Department is committed to a thorough, independent, and objective process. We are also committed to transparency and will release the results of the investigation once it is complete.”

Border Arrests Reach Record Numbers in 2021 Fiscal Year

File photo, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

A record number of migrants have been arrested along the Mexico border with more than 1.7 million detainments during the 2021 fiscal year, The Washington Post reports.

By comparison, the average number of migrants taken into custody in the fiscal years between 2012 and 2020 was 540,000.  

In the first nine months of Biden’s administration, U.S. authorities have detained more than 1.3 million migrants, including 192,000 last month. 

Republicans have blamed Biden’s laxer immigration policies on the surge. 

During the 2021 fiscal year, more than 608,000 Mexican nationals were arrested, representing the largest source of illegal migration. 

The second-largest source of illegal migration was outside Mexico and Central America, in a category called “other,” which includes Haitians, Venezuelans, Ecuadorans, Cubans, Brazilians and migrants from dozens of other nations. 

Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador followed. 

“Migration to the U.S.-Mexico border is now truly global,” Cris Ramón, an independent immigration consultant in Washington, said. “The implications for immigration policy require a far more comprehensive approach because it’s not enough to say you have to deter migration from Mexico or Central America. This has become a far more complex problem for the administration to deal with.”

Gov. Abbott Offers to Hire Border Patrol Agents If They’re Fired by Biden Admin

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo via Governor’s Office.

By Steve Neavling

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday pledged to hire Border Patrol agents if they are fired for their handling of Haitian migrants along the Rio Grande in Del rio, Texas. 

Shocking images showed the agents on horses chasing and grabbing the migrants near a makeshift camp where a large influx of Haitians had gathered in hopes of being granted asylum. 

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Abbott said the agents did nothing wrong, and if they are fired, “I will hire you to help Texas secure our border.”

Abbott’s remarks came several days after President Biden, calling the agents’ actions “outrageous,” said, “Those people will pay.”

Abbott placed the blame on the Biden administration, saying agents “wouldn’t have been in that situation had the Biden administration enforced the immigration laws.”

“If he takes any action against them whatsoever — I have worked side by side with those Border Patrol agents — I want them to know something,” Abbott said. “If they are risk of losing their job by a president who is abandoning his duty to secure the border, you have a job in the state of Texas. I will hire you to help Texas secure our border.”

DHS to Investigate ‘Extremely Troubling’ Footage of Border Patrol Confronting Migrants in Del Rio

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

The Department of Homeland Security is investigating images and video of horse-mounted Border Patrol agents chasing and whipping Haitian migrants along the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas. 

In a tweet Monday, Homeland Security said it was taking the situation “very seriously.”

“The footage is extremely troubling, and the facts learned from the full investigation, which will be conducted swiftly, will define the appropriate disciplinary actions to be taken,” Homeland Security said.

CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating, and the DHS Office of Inspector General has been alerted. 

The scene played out near a makeshift camp in Del Rio, a small town where a large influx of migrants from Haiti have gathered in hopes of being granted asylum. 

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said the footage was “devastating.”

“I’ve seen some of the footage,” Psaki said at a briefing Monday. “I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate. But I don’t have additional details.”

CBP Temporarily Closes Del Rio Border Crossing in Response to Influx of Migrants

By Steve Neavling

U.S. customs and Border Protection has temporarily closed the Del Rio border crossing with Mexico as authorities grapple with a large influx of migrants who formed a makeshift campuses under a bridge. 

CBP announced Friday that it was re-rerouting traffic from Del Rio to Eagle Pass in Texas to manage resources and free up the flow of travel and trade. 

“This temporary closure and shift is necessary in order for CBP to respond to urgent safety and security needs presented by an influx of migrants into Del Rio and is effective immediately,” CBP said in a news release. “It will advance and protect national interests and help ensure the safety of the traveling public, commercial traffic, and CBP employees and facilities.”

The inundation of migrants, mostly Haitians, has strained resources in Del Rio, a bilingual town of 36,000 residents. Authorities estimate more than 12,900 migrants have tried to cross the border into Del Rio.  

The migrants entered the country illegally and are hoping to claim asylum. 

Homeland Security’s Chief of Staff Karen Olick Resigns to ‘Pursue New Opportunities’

Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

Karen Olick, chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, announced on Monday that she’s resigning at the end of the month, citing an undisclosed opportunity. 

She will be replaced on an interim basis by Jennifer Higgins, associate director of Refugee, Asylum and International Operations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS officials told Politico.

In an email, Olick said, “Though too often underappreciated by our fellow citizens, I am continually struck by how many millions of Americans sleep in safety every night because so many at DHS do not sleep.” 

In a separate email, Mayorkas notified staff that Olick “has decided to resign her position and pursue new opportunities. We are grateful to Karen for her service during the critical first nine months of the new Administration.”

Olick most recently worked for SKDK, the Democratic-centric political communications firm. 

Her departure comes as Homeland Security grapples with a high number of migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Border Patrol Agents Accidentally Run Over Migrants, Killing One of Them, CBP Says

By Steve Neavling

A Honduran man was killed and another migrant rushed to the hospital after a Border Patrol vehicle accidentally ran over them in Kenedy County near Kingsville, Texas, last week, CBP said in a news release.

The incident occurred about 1 p.m. on April 29, when Border Patrol agents spotted fresh footprints in an area known for smuggling activity. 

As the agents searched for migrants, they ran over two men who were hiding in tall grass. The agents didn’t know they hit the men until a group of migrants emerged and informed them of what had happened. 

The migrants helped the agents locate the men, one of whom died at the scene. The other was transferred to a hospital via air ambulance and released later in the day.

“The initial investigation indicates BPAs were not aware anyone was burrowed in the grass nor were they aware anyone had been run over by a vehicle until informed by a migrant,” CBP said. 

The Kenedy County Sheriff’s Office and CBP Office of Professional Responsibility were called to the scene and are reviewing the incident.

Biden Taps Ed Gonzalez, a Texas Sheriff, to Head ICE

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has been nominated to head ICE.

By Steve Neavling

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Ed Gonzalez, a Texas sheriff and outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s immigration policies, to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the White House announced Tuesday.

Gonzalez was elected sheriff of Harris County, which includes Houston, in 2016 and reelected in 2020. 

Gonzalez will likely face opposition from Republicans during his Senate confirmation hearing, which has not yet been set. 

ICE has not had a permanent leader since 2017. 

Gonzalez has criticized Trump’s deportation policies and the separation of migrant children from their families. 

His law enforcement career began in the Houston Police Department, and he later served three terms on the Houston City Council. 

Gonzalez has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston Downtown and a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas.