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Texas Creates 'Steel Barrier' to Deter Surge of Migrants

As thousands remain under Del Rio International Bridge
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2021 12:23 AM CDT
Updated Sep 22, 2021 6:57 AM CDT
Texas Creates 'Steel Barrier' to Deter Surge of Migrants
Migrants, many from Haiti, are seen wading between the U.S. and Mexico on the Rio Grande, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(Newser) – Texas' latest move to deter the unprecedented number of migrants surging into the state: a "steel barrier" that stretches for miles. No, it's not an actual wall; as CNN explains, Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety vehicles are parked along the border, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday. "They have created a steel barrier preventing people from being able to cross the border," he said, per KHOU. "One day there were countless people coming across the border, then that very same day the Texas Department of Public Safety put up all these DPS vehicles, and suddenly, in an instant, people stopped crossing the border in this location."

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Thousands of migrants, most Haitian, remain under the Del Rio International Bridge seeking asylum and waiting to be processed by federal authorities. (Estimates on Tuesday ranged from 7,700 to 9,600.) The Biden administration started flying the migrants back to Haiti, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the administration expects "dramatic results in the next 48 to 96 hours" and all the migrants cleared out within 10 days, but Abbott has accused the administration of not doing enough. Abbott said Tuesday that any migrants who cross from underneath the bridge onto private property or public land are arrested and jailed, though he didn't say how many had been so far, NBC DFW reports.

The reported use of whips and horses against the migrants has sparked an outcry, with Vice President Kamala Harris recently promising an investigation. Tens of thousands more Haitians are expected to try to travel north this year. The legal director of an advocacy group for Haitian migrants decries the administration's plan: "People still have yet to get drinking water and medical care. So what needs to happen is to stop the deportation flights to Haiti effective immediately and instead welcome Haitians to screen them for asylum ... so they don't have to return to where they fled." (Read more Texas stories.)

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