FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - The encampment of mostly Haitian migrants underneath the international bridge in Del Rio, was cleared by border officials.
The migrants entered the U.S. illegally and set up the campsite on American soil waiting to be arrested by border patrol agents so they could claim asylum. At its peak there were just over 15,000 people living there for days in makeshift tents.
Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas visited Del Rio last week and spoke tough about enforcing immigration laws during a news conference. At the time Secretary Mayorkas said, "If you come to the United States illegally you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed."
Days later DHS officials confirmed more than 12,000 of the mostly Haitian migrants were allowed to be processed and released into the U.S. for the time being.
Del Rio Immigration Attorney, Jacques De La Mota said while the were allowed to reunite with family or friends in other parts of the country they are all still under an active deportation proceeding.
He said they were essentially paroled adding, "They are called removal proceedings, and in removal proceeding they can raise defenses to their deportation one of which is Asylum."
Attorney De La Mota believes the Biden administration reversed course on promising to expel them all back to Haiti after reports of chaos and groups revolting upon learning they were being sent back.
De La Mota said, "Perhaps the administration took the path of least resistance, and the path that would most expedite the processing."
The migrants who were allowed in were either given an ankle bracelet for monitoring, a notice to appear before an immigration officer in 60 days, or a future court date.
De La Mota says they are all subject to deportation at any time, but they fact that they were allowed to remain in the U.S. for now, may inspire other migrants to attempt the journey as well.
He said, "Our system was completely overwhelmed, and I think once word gets back to other immigrants that they were paroled, they were allowed entry into the United States… that is only going to encourage them to come toward the border even more."
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