BROWNSVILLE, Texas — DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ claim that the border is not open is directly contradicted by the crossing of nearly 2,000 Venezuelan migrants per day into Brownsville, Texas. The impact of this newest migrant surge along the Texas border is easily viewed from the banks of the Rio Grande and the downtown streets of Brownsville.
During a joint press briefing alongside Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Thursday, the DHS Secretary told reporters “The smuggler’s propaganda is false. Let me be clear: Our border is not open and will not be open after May 11th.”
Texas Department of Public Safety
On Sunday, as Breitbart Texas posted along the border and in downtown Brownsville, the steady flow of migrants crossing the Rio Grande and those searching for food and shelter in the city’s center says otherwise.
New immigration measures announced during the briefing concerning actions the current administration will take when the CDC Title 42 COVID-19 measures end later this month will likely bring little change to the latest border crisis and may serve to make matters worse. The measures announced on Thursday offer increased pathways to migrants if they pursue their asylum claims outside the United States.
The limited consequences for bypassing the new immigration pathways Mayorkas highlights carry one exception that might exacerbate the current crisis. The planned increase in the use of expedited removal — that carries a five-year ban on lawful re-entry to the United States — will only be applied to single adult male and female migrants. To avoid the consequence, the likely outcome may be an increase in the number of children brought to the United States through treacherous border regions by human smugglers.
From January 2021 through April, authorities along the southwest border encountered nearly 370,000 unaccompanied migrant children. The children, according to one CBP source, are sometimes sent in advance of the arrival of relatives who use the children as an anchor to avoid immigration consequences. The yearly number of migrant children encountered at the border pales in comparison to the 33,239 apprehended in 2020, President Donald Trump’s last full year in office.
From the time Joe Biden became president in January 2021 through the end of April 2023, according to CBP, 1,364,596 family unit migrants and accompanied migrant children were also encountered after making the trek across the southwest border. The yearly average for migrants in these two demographics since President Biden took office is in excess of 500,000 yearly. This compares to 71,681 migrants within the same demographic encountered in 2020.
The new measures announced by the DHS Secretary will exclude arriving migrants within these two demographics — likely having little to no impact on the migrant crisis in border cities and beyond. During Thursday’s briefing, Mayorkas clearly limited the application of expedited removal emphasizing, “We will process eligible single adults for expedited removal while they are in our Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities.”
On Sunday, Breitbart observed a continuous flow of migrants surrendering to Border Patrol agents near the Rio Grande in Brownsville. As reported by Breitbart Texas, the scene near the shuttered Ft. Brown Memorial Golf Course has repeated in recent weeks as the migrants grow weary of waiting for the sunset of the Title 42 COVID-19 expulsion authority on May 11th. Despite the early arrival, many of the migrants, mostly Venezuelan, Cuban, Haitian, and from the People’s Republic of China are being released onto the streets of the city contradicting Mayorkas claim the border is not open.
While downtown, Breitbart Texas spoke with several migrants from Cuba, Haiti, and Venezuela. The migrants say they were held in custody for more than a week waiting to be processed and were released onto the downtown streets of Brownsville. Hundreds moved in and out of a local charity shelter and several small churches. The migrants, some with small children, slept on city sidewalks and near the doorways of local merchant shops.
Although DHS has increased repatriation flights to some countries including Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, the DHS Secretary’s border assessment appears to ring true for an extremely limited group of migrants and false for many others.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.
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