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Expand chart
Data: CBP; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The number of Haitians crossing the U.S.-Mexico border had been rising even before their country's president was assassinated in July and the island was struck by an earthquake a month later.

Why it matters: A spike during the past few weeks — leaving thousands waiting in a makeshift camp under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas — has prompted a crackdown and deportations by the Biden administration.

  • Not all are coming straight from Haiti: many fled to South American countries like Brazil and Chile after another devastating 2010 earthquake.
  • Now, they've made their way north, perhaps lured by confusion about Temporary Protected Status.
  • More than 15,000 Haitians were tracked crossing from Colombia to Panama through the treacherous Darién Gap last month — significantly more than any other nationality, according to Panamanian government data. The number has risen steadily month over month.

What's happening: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited the Del Rio sector on Monday. He issued a blunt warning.

  • "If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned,” he said.
  • Mayorkas also emphasized the Temporary Protected Status designation for Haiti, announced earlier this year, applies only to those who were already in the country before July 29.

Between the lines: As of Sunday, there were more than 12,600 migrants under the bridge — most of them Haitians.

  • The administration has started up mass deportations back to Haiti, and hundreds were returned just on Sunday.
  • The government also surged 600 more border agents to Del Rio.
  • The port of entry has been closed, and trade rerouted.
  • On Friday, 2,000 migrants were moved from Del Rio to other processing sites.

What to watch: There have been reports of border agents mistreating Haitians, including lashing toward some from horseback.

  • Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, released a statement Monday urging Mayorkas "to take immediate action to hold those responsible accountable, and ensure that all migrants are treated in accordance with the law and basic decency."

Go deeper

Nov 23, 2021 - World

Migrants freezing to death on EU frontier

Migrants warm themselves on the Belarusian side of the border. Photo: Maxim Guchek/BELTA/AFP via Getty

Migrants are "dying in the snow" along the Belarus-Poland border, caught in freezing temperatures between hostile border guards from both countries and cut off from lifesaving aid, Stefan Lehmeier of the International Rescue Committee told Axios.

Context: Lehmeier spoke by phone with Axios Monday, immediately after helping to administer first aid to three Iraqi men suffering from hypothermia in a forest on the Polish side of the border. Lehmeier and his fellow aid workers gave them blankets, hot soup and waterproof boots.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

MLB headed for first lockout since '95 as deal expires

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (L) and Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark. Photo: Matt King/MLB via Getty Images

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday without a new deal in place.

Why it matters: With no CBA, the MLB is headed for the first management lockout since a 1994-95 strike led to the cancelation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.

Media giants back Bannon's bid to release Jan. 6 documents

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon at the FBI Washington Field Office in Washington, DC., in November. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A coalition of news outlets including the Washington Post is supporting Stephen Bannon's campaign for the release of documents related to his contempt of Congress charges, WashPost confirmed Wednesday.

Why it matters: WashPost, the New York Times, CNN, NBC, the Wall Street Journal's parent company and others filed a motion arguing that a proposed protective order seeking to prevent the documents from being released violates the First Amendment, per the Daily Mail, which first reported on the news.