The Trump administration called them “aliens.” The Biden administration calls them “irregular migrants.”
But for the crush of thousands of Haitian migrants at a crossing along the Rio Grande, changes in presidential administration and bureaucratic rhetoric have still left policies for those seeking safe haven at the U.S.-Mexico border unchanged: cramped and dangerous encampments at border crossing sites; perfunctory processing of asylum claims; and, almost invariably, swift removal from the United States.
On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security announced a massive operation “to address the increase in migrant encounters” at a border crossing in Del Rio, Texas, where an estimated 14,000 Haitian migrants had congregated this week. The increase follows false rumors that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents were allowing entry to economic refugees and would-be asylum-seekers. The operation, according to a DHS statement outlining the department’s plan, sent a surge of 400 agents and officers to “improve control of the area,” and increased resources for the swift processing and removal of Haitian people to their countries of origin.