The massive effort to move thousands of Haitians out of South Texas continued Wednesday.
Some migrants are being flown back to Haiti under Title 42, many others are heading to ICE detention centers and still, others are being processed and released to appear at an asylum hearing in the future.
The treatment of those living in squalid conditions underneath Del Rio’s international bridge remains a controversial issue.
Members of the Congressional Black, Caribbean and Haiti Caucuses gathered in Washington D.C. to call for a full investigation into the treatment of the Haitian migrants at the Southern border, voicing outrage over an incident where Border Patrol agents on horseback used ‘split reigns’ near migrants.
North Texas Congressman Marc Veasey was in attendance and said he wants clear protocols related to the interactions between law enforcement and immigrants.
“There needs to be clear outlines on that, and I think there needs to be an announcement on what sort of changes are going to be put in place to make sure that that doesn’t happen again,” said Veasey.
Thousands of migrants, mostly Haitians, continue to huddle underneath the bridge waiting to be processed and released to Border Patrol.
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Dallas immigration attorney Fernando Dubove has received a handful of calls from families seeking legal aid for loved ones currently in ICE detention centers in Texas.
Dubove says there are Haitians who did not migrate directly from the island nation, but rather settled in South American countries like Brazil. The migrants then decided to travel North, some because of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in countries like Brazil.
If this is the case, their claim for refuge in the U.S. could be denied, he said.
“You showed you were able to leave Haiti successfully, live in another country and escape that persecution, in this case Brazil, and if that’s the case you’re going to see a lot of those people’s cases immediately weakened or thrown out,” said Dubove.
The White House and the Department of Homeland Security have yet to release detailed data showing the number of migrants flown back to Haiti or other countries and those flown to other cities in the U.S.
Lawmakers and advocates have expressed deep concerns over the untold number of Haitians sent back to the island nation that has been wrecked by hurricanes, poverty and political unrest.
“It’s essentially a stateless country right now. It’s in complete turmoil,” said Veasey. “Why would you send people back into those conditions? They ought to be allowed the opportunity to apply to come into this country.”