Jen Psaki said the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] has still not made the numbers available on how many migrants were released into the U.S. this year after a massive mostly Haitian caravan arrived over the last few weeks.
The White House press secretary vowed during her press briefing Wednesday that she would release the figures later in the day, but no such numbers were shared.
When asked Wednesday evening when they would be made available, Psaki told DailyMail.com: ‘As soon as it is available form [sic] DHS.’
As of Thursday morning, neither the White House or DHS had released any figures related to the number of migrants released into the U.S. since President Joe Biden took office.
Up to 15,000 mostly Haitian migrants camped out under the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas and as of Tuesday, according to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, that number dropped to 10,000.
Several removal flights have taken planes full of these migrants back to their homeland as DHS ramped up deportation efforts – but thousands of others were released into the U.S.
This year alone, around 1.3 million migrants were apprehended by Customs and Border Protection, but it is still unclear what the fate of these illegal border jumpers is.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told DailyMail.com that she still does not have the figures from DHS on how many Haitian migrants were released into the U.S.
At Psaki’s daily press briefing on Wednesday, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy confronted her on the yet-to-be-released numbers after Mayorkas revealed during a Senate hearing on Tuesday that he did not know the figures.
‘So who else can we ask?’ Doocy asked.
When the press secretary attempted to direct him back to DHS, Doocy replied, ‘He says he doesn’t know.’
‘I am confident that he wanted to have the most up-to-date numbers and we will venture to get you those – I promise, this afternoon,’ Psaki vowed.
In a follow-up question Doocy asked if the issue is that the administration doesn’t know or if they don’t want to reveal figures because ‘a lot more people are being released into the U.S. than are being sent out.’
‘That is certainly not the issue,’ Psaki said.
It is still not clear when those figures will actually become public.
Psaki (left) told a Fox News reporter Peter Doocy (right) that he’ll get updated numbers on the migrant crisis this afternoon after he grilled her on immigration reform
Mayorkas, meanwhile, was at the Capitol Wednesday for his second day of back-to-back congressional hearings – this time before a House committee.
Republican Florida Representative Carlos Gimenez asked Mayorkas today about how many of the migrants apprehended at the border this year were detained, returned or ‘dispersed.’
‘I would be pleased to provide you with specific data subsequent to this hearing, congressman,’ Mayorkas answered.
Gimenez accused Mayorkas of being unprepared for the hearing, to which the DHS chief snapped about his long work hours.
‘I work 18 hours a day, OK? So when I returned from yesterday’s hearing, I actually focused on mission. We will get that data, both to the senator who posed it yesterday and to you, congressman, today,’ he said.
It follows on from Tuesday’s hearing before the Senate when Mayorkas still could not provide migrant data.
‘I want some numbers here. Of the 1.3 million people that we’ve apprehended, how many people have been returned? How many people are being detained? How many people have been dispersed to all points around America?’ Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin asked the secretary during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing.
DHS Secretary Mayorkas was grilled by lawmakers in back-to-back congressional hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday
‘Senator, I would be pleased to provide you with that data — ‘ Mayorkas said before he was cut off.
‘I want them now,’ Johnson demanded. ‘Why don’t you have that information now?’
‘Senator, I do not have that data before me,’ Mayorkas replied.
‘Why not? Why don’t you have that basic information?’ the senator asked.
‘Senator, I want to be accurate,’ Mayorkas said.
The secretary revealed Tuesday that around 5,000 migrants have been removed from the encampment surrounding the Del Rio International Bridge as DHS launches a probe into agents on horseback using what appeared to be whips against the mostly Haitian migrants.
‘How many migrants have crossed into the United States in Del Rio over the past week?’ Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley asked Mayorkas.
‘So last week, I think the high point was 13,000-15,000 – it is now well below 10,000. We continue to move individuals from Del Rio to other processing centers to facilitate their repatriation,’ the DHS secretary responded.
‘We have increased the number of repatriation flights to Haiti and to other countries,’ Mayorkas added as it was revealed this week DHS is aiming to send out several deportation flights per day.
Migrants stand in line while awaiting transport out of a border makeshift camp along the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 22
A photo from Wednesday shows migrants being routed out of a makeshift border camp after being processed by US officials. The White House has pledged to deport most of the migrants back to Haiti under Title 42, but reports indicate that’s not the case for some being released
U.S. Border Patrol agents ride near a migrant camp in Del Rio, Texas on September 22
US special envoy for Haiti RESIGNS over ‘inhumane decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees’, warns crisis will ‘only grow’ and slams Biden for causing it
The U.S. special envoy for Haiti resigned on Wednesday because he didn’t want to be involved with the ‘inhumane’ deportation of Haitian migrants.
‘I will not be associated with the United States [sic] inhumane, counterproductive, decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life,’ Ambassador Daniel Foote wrote in his resignation letter, first shared by a PBS reporter on Twitter.
In the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Foote said another reason for his resignation is that his recommendations to help Haiti have been ‘ignored and dismissed’ and he blamed the Biden administration for the ongoing crisis with Haitian migrants.
‘Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed,’ Foote continued in his letter, ‘and my recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own.’
Deportation flights ensued on Sunday and continued through the week as planes full of Haitian migrants arrived back in the island capital city of Port-au-Prince.
People are fleeing Haiti and seeking refuge in America after a devastating earthquake and the assassination of their president, which has thrown the country into even more chaos.
Foote said that the deportation back to Haiti will only exacerbate the migration crisis at the southern border.
‘The collapsed state is unable to provide security or basic services, and more refugees will further desperation and crime,’ the now-former special envoy wrote in his resignation letter of Haiti. ‘Surging migration at our borders will only grow as we add to Haiti’s unacceptable misery.’
Foote only served in his post for two months after becoming the U.S. Special Envoy for Haiti in July following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. In the role, Foote served as a member of President Joe Biden’s delegation to Moïse’s funeral.
Before taking on that role he previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti and as the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia under President Donald Trump.
Foote has served with the Department of State since 1998 and has held a litany of roles since then – including in the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico; the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in Colombia; deputy chief of mission in both Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and chargé d’affaires in the Dominican Republic.
Mayorkas also refused to say whether he felt he and the Biden administration bear any responsibility for the influx of Haitian migrants over the last few weeks or the broader border crisis in general.
The DHS chief visited the border after increasing pressure to do so as images of mostly Haitian migrants in a tent city under the Del Rio bridge spurred accusations the Biden administration was enabling a humanitarian crisis.
The administration used the Trump-era Title 42 policy as a shield, claiming migrants would be sent back to the Caribbean country, which is still reeling from a deadly earthquake and political instability following the assassination of its president.
Under Title 42, migrants can be repatriated to their home nations without the possibility of requesting asylum due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, officials told DailyMail.com that thousands of Haitian migrants are being freed into the US on a ‘very, very large scale’ rather than being flown out on the deportation flights.
Two US officials with knowledge of the situation in Del Rio – where a peak of around 14,600 mostly Haitian migrants were camped out under a bridge at the weekend after crossing into the US from Mexico – said thousands have been released into the US with notices to appear at an immigration court in 60 days’ time under the so-called ‘catch and release’ scheme.
Others have been sent on buses and planes to other parts of the US to be processed by Border Patrol agents there, they said.