Biden administration knew thousands of Haitians were headed toward border

U.S. agencies had prior knowledge that thousands of Haitian refugees were headed to the southern border in July, according to an NBC News report.

Officials with knowledge of the matter told the news outlet that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has acknowledged the failures internally and is discussing steps to prevent similar situations in the future.

The report further added that Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis knew in July that there was a large contingent of Haitians moving toward the U.S. border from South and Central America well before it was on the national radar last month.

However, the three officials said the intelligence was not shared extensively within DHS and there was a lack of interagency communication.

The officials said that a lack of action on the issue stemmed from disagreements within the administration on whether they should deport the refugees, the report added.

A Guardian report on the issue said that upon taking office, the Biden Administration ordered a 100-day suspension on deportations while procedures related to the removal of migrants and asylum-seekers were subject to review.

The Biden administration faced intense scrutiny in September after thousands of Haitian migrants gathered on the border in Del Rio, Texas. Widely circulated images of border agents interacting with migrants while on horseback caused further outrage.

Deportation flights to Haiti were restarted mid-September amid the surge, and it is unclear how such a large number gathered at the border, The Associated Press reported.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has also missed a self-imposed deadline to review and investigate officers on horseback who were photographed grabbing the Haitian migrants.

Last month, President Biden acknowledged that the scenes at the U.S.-Mexico border were “an embarrassment.”

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