U.S. Will Not Fly Haitian Migrants From Texas To Guantanamo Bay, DHS Says

The Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that it will not fly any of the thousands of Haitian migrants who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico frontier in recent weeks to Guantanamo bay. This decision was made after confusion and outrage over a request for bids to manage a holding centre at the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba.

On September 20, Haitian immigrants crossed the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas to get back to Mexico. Getty Images

The Key Facts

Guantanamo Bay is used by the United States to detain and process migrants captured at sea. It will not be used for people who are caught at the southern border, DHS Assistant Secretary of Political Affairs Marsha Espinosa tweeted Wednesday evening. Espinosa stated that a U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement bid solicitation last week asking private companies to apply for the Guantanamo bay facility was a routine, first step in a contract renewal.

Important Background

The United States temporarily sent migrants trying to reach the country by sea to Guantanamo bay on and off for years. In the 1990s, the US controversially held tens to thousands of Haitians at Guantanamo. Friday's bid solicitation by ICE was posted to offer security services to the base's migrant facility. The agency plans to hold as many as 400 people in a surge event and is looking for contractors to hire staff fluent in Spanish or Haitian Creole. This bid document was first reported Wednesday by NBC News. It comes as the Biden administration struggles to handle thousands of migrants from Haiti, Mexico and other countries that crossed into Texas' city of Del Rio. Many of these migrants, many of them from South America, have been living in a temporary camp under a bridge as they wait for processing. This has overwhelmed immigration agents and caused the Biden administration's to increase deportation flights to Haiti.

Chief Critic

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) reacted strongly to the Guantanamo bay bid document in a Wednesday tweet. This outrage comes after days of controversy about the Biden administration's response to Del Rio's surge. DHS announced Monday that it would investigate horse-mounted Border Patrol agents photographed aggressively attempting to corral migrants at the border. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.N.Y.) also criticized the Biden administration's plan to fly migrants, some of whom might be seeking asylum in Haiti.

What to Watch

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas informed members of Congress Tuesday that the Del Rio migrant camp will be closed by next week. Forbes reported that more than 1,000 people flew from Texas to Haiti on Sunday and Tuesday. Some migrants were also released to the United States with notices to show up at an immigration office within 60 day, according to the Associated Press Wednesday.