DEL RIO, Texas – Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday warned migrants not to try to enter the United States illegally as more than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants were being deported from an encampment at a Texas border town.
Two migrants Local 10 News met in Texas confirmed what Mayorkas said — that misinformation is leading many on this dangerous path.
Sitting on a curb at a gas station trying to figure out how to get to Ohio where they have friends, Jean and Julia said they were unclear why they were being released while most will be deported.
It’s likely because she is seven months pregnant.
Fearing Haiti’s unstable government and gangs, they came through Brazil on a 10-country journey to arrive at the squalid encampment under a bridge last week.
They said they paid $7,000 to a smuggler who told them it would all be possible.
It’s exactly the kind of story that federal agents say is fueling the explosion at the Del Rio border.
“We are very concerned that Haitians who are taking this irregular migration path are receiving false information that the border is open, or that temporary protected status is available,” said Mayorkas, who arrived Monday for a firsthand look at the situation. “I want to make sure that it is known that this is not the way to come to the United States. That is false information.”
Part of a national network of Haitian-American leaders, two North Miami councilmembers, Alix Desulme and Mary Estime-Irvin, were in Texas on Monday to lobby for change and for a reprieve for the migrants.
“The deportations need to stop,” Desulme said. This is inhumane.”
Estime-Irvin added: “There are a lot of them that have families that are willing and able to take care of them.”
So how are they going to get there from here?
“That’s a good question,” Estime-Irvin said.
As for Jean and Julia, Jean said Border Patrol dropped them at a bus stop with a ticket, which the bus driver said wasn’t valid.
He was making calls to friends in Ohio, hoping to get there.
“Hunger was killing us. We didn’t have a president. We didn’t have anything,” Jean said of the decision to leave Haiti. “Today I have hope.”
Jean says Border Patrol dropped them at a bus stop with a ticket, that the busdriver said wasn’t valid.— Glenna Milberg (@GlennaWPLG) September 20, 2021
We left him making calls to friends in Ohio hoping to get there.
“Hunger was killing us. We didn’t have a president. We didn’t have anything. Today I have hope” @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/dRGn6sUokz