Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday traveled to Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of Haitian migrants are gathered.
The Biden administration has begun deporting the migrants to their home country, which is experiencing multiple crises, and is planning to operate several flights per day as the process continues. The White House is invoking a pandemic-related clause that allows the U.S. to close its borders during a public health crisis. Mayorkas emphasized the deportations Monday, stating that "if you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned."
He described the scene as a heartbreaking one and said the migrants have been "deceived" by smugglers. "This is not the way to come into the United States," Mayorkas said. "That is false information."
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz echoed Mayorkas, arguing that "smugglers continue to recklessly endanger lives of individuals they exploit for their own financial gain."
Both Mayorkas and Ortiz seemed to suggest that the Haitians had been misled by smugglers about the fact that Haitians living in the U.S. are eligible for Temporary Protected Status. That is true, but it applies only to migrants who arrived in the country before July 29.