The "disappearing Haitians" mystery is solved. You've been lied to

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Yesterday, when writing about the conflicting stories coming out of the Del Rio Haitian encampment, I concluded my analysis with an assumption. “There’s more to this story than we’re being told.” A number of things being reported about how the Biden administration has been dealing with more than 14,000 Haitians, particularly the aggressive tactics being employed and the rapid deportation schedule, simply didn’t add up. Part of that just comes down to the math. We were told that flights leaving for Haiti were only carrying a bit more than 100 deportees each. Basic math suggests that it would take several weeks to send them all home at that pace. And yet by yesterday, the number of Haitians was reportedly down to roughly 7,000. Sure, some of them may have gone back over the border to Mexico (where they would face deportation anyway), but not half of the entire camp, right?

Well, the Associated Press seems to have cracked the case. There are lots of Haitian migrants who are no longer camping out under the overpass near Del Rio. But they weren’t all put on planes and sent home as Alejandro Mayorkas promised on Monday. Thousands of them were simply bussed to other areas along the border and released.

Many Haitian migrants camped in a small Texas border town are being released in the United States, two U.S. officials said, undercutting the Biden administration’s public statements that the thousands in the camp faced immediate expulsion.

Haitians have been freed on a “very, very large scale” in recent days, according to one U.S. official who put the figure in the thousands. The official, with direct knowledge of operations who was not authorized to discuss the matter Tuesday and thus spoke on condition of anonymity

Many have been released with notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days, an outcome that requires less processing time from Border Patrol agents than ordering an appearance in immigration court and points to the speed at which authorities are moving, the official said.

You know what this means, right? I’ve been asking for days what was so different about the Haitian migrants that they would receive such strict treatment, with nearly all of them being immediately shipped out of the country without even the opportunity to request asylum. The answer turns out to be that they aren’t being treated much differently at all. It also means that everyone from Jen Psaki to the departments of State and Homeland Security has been lying to the media for well over a week.

The officials speaking to the Associated Press off the record went on to say that some people have been being loaded onto planes and sent back home, but they’ve been focusing primarily on single, adult males for deportation. Families, women, and unaccompanied children are still being either released and told to report to an ICE officer later or (in the case of the children) being moved to holding facilities. In other words, the large majority of the Haitians are enjoying the same open border policies that the Biden administration has gifted to all of the Mexican and Central American border hoppers we’ve pick up this year.

I’ll assume that most of you seasoned observers of the American government are already aware that a politician lying is pretty much a dog-bites-man story, but this is pretty blatant, isn’t it? Why were we treated to all of this theater over the past week or so? Why all of the speeches from everyone up to the chief of Homeland Security telling the world that the Haitians were not welcome and they were being shipped home rapidly and in seemingly record numbers?

Beyond those basic questions, we also have the issue of what appears to be intentional optics on the part of the administration. They sent out a bunch of agents on horseback dressed up like gauchos to charge at the migrants as they attempted to wade across the river. That’s not something in the normal ICE/CBP playbook. This is all looking more and more like something cooked up for a Hollywood script.

The one possibility that comes to mind is the reality that the Biden border crisis has gotten so bad that even CNN and the Washington Post have felt compelled to cover it, albeit far more gently than they could have. Biden’s approval numbers are sinking further underwater every week and that’s particularly true for his handling of immigration and border control. It’s not inconceivable that somebody in the White House decided that they needed to put on a tough guy act to make it look like they were doing something in order to get the public to calm down. But didn’t they realize that somebody working on the border was going to spill the beans to reporters sooner or later? (Honestly, I’m shocked the story held up for five days.)

Will anyone step up to the plate today and ask Jen Psaki or even President Biden himself to explain this deception? Okay… probably just Psaki since Uncle Joe is apparently not allowed to take questions anymore. But this wasn’t just a case of a lack of transparency from the Most Transparent Presidency Ever. This was an outright fabrication. And the press corps can’t just sit on their hands and ignore it.