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Last of Haitian migrants cleared from camp in Del Rio, Texas, DHS chief says

Jacqueline Charles, Bryan Lowry and Michael Wilner, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

Mayorkas confirmed that DHS did not test that population of individuals for COVID-19.

“We do not know — I do not know, I should say, to be perfectly accurate — I do not know whether anyone was sick with COVID. We certainly had some individuals get sick, not specifically with COVID to my knowledge, and we addressed their illnesses,” he said.

The head of Haiti’s National Migration Office confirmed to the Miami Herald that some of the returning migrants have tested positive for COVID-19.

“These people should have been tested before being repatriated,” Edmond said.

Another concern has been the behavior of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Images of a Border Patrol agent confronting Haitian migrants along the Rio Grande river not far from the camp prompted outrage and calls for an investigation. The agents involved were put on administrative leave, and Mayorkas has promised to make public the results of the inquiry.

 

“The investigation into what occurred has not yet concluded,” he said. “We know that those images painfully conjured up the worst elements of our nation’s ongoing battle against systemic racism.”

On Thursday, DHS announced that it had temporarily ceased the use of the horseback unit at the camp.

“The actions that are taken are as a result of what we have seen in those images,” said Mayorkas, who initially defended the agents and later said he was “horrified” by what he had seen. “The investigation, the results will be compelled by the facts that are deduced, and nothing less. Let me be clear: The department does not tolerate any mistreatment of any migrant, and will not tolerate any violation of its values, principles, and ethics.”

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