Around 12,400 migrants could be allowed to remain in the U.S., Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during a White House press conference on Friday.
Border officials relied on Title 42, a Trump-era public health order implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to expel most migrants from the U.S., according to Mayorkas. Migrants who needed immediate medical attention or who feared torture if they were returned to their home country weren’t subject to removal.
“Approximately 12,400 will have cases heard by an immigration judge to make a determination on whether they’ll be removed or permitted to remain in the United States,” Mayorkas said. If someone is not subject to title 42 expulsion for the three reasons that I explained, acute vulnerability, operational capacity limitations, or a convention against torture exception, then the individual is placed in immigration proceedings.
NEW: 12,400 migrants in Del Rio have been placed in immigration proceedings & permitted to remain in the U.S. while they seek legal asylum @DHSgov Sec. Mayorkas says.
8,000 have returned to Mexico, voluntarily.
5,000 are currently being processed, some of whom may be expelled. pic.twitter.com/9gOJuI9HWj
— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) September 24, 2021
The migrants who aren’t expelled under Title 42 will appear before an immigration judge where their claims are adjudicated, according to Mayorkas. If the migrant doesn’t have a valid claim to remain in the U.S. they will be expelled.
“An estimated 8,000 migrants have decided to return to Mexico voluntarily,” Mayorkas said. “And just over 5,000 are being processed by DHS to determine whether they will be expelled or placed in immigration removal proceedings under Title 8.”
Immigration officials cleared all 15,000 migrants from the temporary encampment set up near Del Rio, Texas, as of Friday morning, according to Mayorkas. Border officials were overwhelmed by the thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, who showed up under the international bridge to request asylum in the U.S.
Around 600 Customs and Border Protection officials and DHS volunteers were deployed to the area to help with processing, Mayorkas said. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were responsible for transporting migrants to other Border Patrol sites for processing and to airports for expulsion back to Haiti.