Central American families are deported by plane to Mexico

Joe Biden sends Central American families by plane to Mexico. Authorities are finding more migrant families and unaccompanied minors on t...

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  • Joe Biden sends Central American families by plane to Mexico.
  • Authorities are finding more migrant families and unaccompanied minors on the border between the two countries.
  • They seek to make it difficult for them to try to cross the border again.

The administration of President Joe Biden has begun sending Central American families deported from the United States by plane to cities in the interior of Mexico, at a time when authorities are finding more migrant families and unaccompanied minors on the border between the two countries, two US officials said on Friday, according to information from AP and Los Angeles Times.

For years, the United States government has deported Mexican migrants by plane to make it difficult for them to try to cross the border again, but this seems to be the first time that it has sent Central Americans by air to Mexico instead of their countries of origin.

FIRST FLIGHT

Families deported by plane
AP Photo

The first flight, made on Thursday, was not full due to high rates of COVID-19 among migrants, according to officials, who are aware of the policy change and spoke on condition of anonymity because Details were not intended to be released. Reuters reported the change in the first instance.

Flights are expected to continue. And there are plans for Mexico to deport Central American migrants to their countries of origin, officials said, one of whom said the planes have capacity for 135 people.

Families deported by plane: CONFIRM EXPULSION

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Photo Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it began expelling immigrants by air to Mexico, relying on an authority related to the pandemic that prevents immigrants from requesting asylum at the border.

The agency, which did not respond to a question about the nationalities of the people aboard Thursday’s flight, said the measure became necessary due to the frequency of repeat crossings and the contagiousness of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Families deported by plane: IN SILENCE

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Neither the Foreign Ministry nor Mexico’s National Migration Institute responded to requests for comment on Friday. The flights are the latest attempt by the Joe Biden administration to cope with the growing number of migrants arriving in the United States.

David Shahoulian, undersecretary of Homeland Security for border and immigration policies, said in a recently filed court document that the highest number of unaccompanied children picked up at the border could have been recorded in July, and the second highest number of people arriving in families. There are “rates with significant increases” of migrants who test positive for COVID-19, he said, without giving further details.

Families deported by plane: EXPULSIONS

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AP Photo

The government also began expedited deportation flights from July 30 for Central American families who are not subject to expulsions related to the pandemic. Manuel Padilla, the Border Patrol’s chief of operations, said Friday that those flights have gone to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, and will continue on a weekly basis.

“Anyone who does not have a legal basis under US law … will be returned to their countries of origin and will not be allowed to stay here,” Padilla said in a conference call with the Spanish-language media.

Families deported by plane: CRITICS UNTIE

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The accelerated efforts to expel Central American families have unleashed criticism among immigrant advocacy groups, who have compared them to those that were presented in the presidency of Donald Trump.

“It is surprising and disappointing to see the US government implement such tough measures at a time when humanitarian needs could not be greater,” said Olga Byrne, immigration director at the International Rescue Committee.

ANTECEDENT

United States
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The Trump administration airlifted many Mexican adults into Mexico last year to discourage repeated border crossings, which had become common under pandemic-related authority because there are no legal consequences if detained.

Those flights, frequently directed to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Querétaro or Villahermosa, decreased when Joe Biden’s government began, but now history repeats itself and how long it will last is unknown. Filed Under: Families Deported by Plane

MORE SHIPPING

Families deported by plane
Photo Getty Images

Apparently, the current government is also flying more immigrants from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings, to other US border cities. Witness at the Border, an activist group that tracks the flights, said there were probably 24 of them from Brownsville, Texas, to El Paso, in the same state, during July, and probably five to San Diego and four to Tucson. Arizona, in the last days of that month.

It is unknown how many people who were airlifted from the Rio Grande Valley to other cities in the United States were allowed to stay in the country to apply for asylum and how many were expelled to Mexico. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service has not responded to questions about the flights. Filed Under: Families Deported by Plane

RISE DETAINED

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The number of detainees is more than double that of the end of February, almost 27,000 people by July 22, according to the most recent data from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

That surpasses the 22,000 detainees last July under then-President Donald Trump, though it remains well below the August 2019 record, when there were more than 55,000 detainees, according to ICE data. Filed Under: Families Deported by Plane

PAINFUL

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The increase in arrests is painful for the president’s pro-immigration allies, Joe Biden, who hoped he would change the harsh strategy of his predecessor. Biden promised in his campaign to end the “prolonged” detention and internment of immigrants in private prisons, which house most of the people held by ICE.

“We are in a very strange time with him,” said Silky Shah, executive director of the Detention Watch Network, which campaigns to end immigration detention. “There is still time to change things, but for now his policies have not lived up to his campaign messages.” Filed Under: Families Deported by Plane

CANCEL CONTRACTS

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AP Photo

The Biden administration in May canceled contracts with two controversial ICE detention centers, one in Georgia and one in Massachusetts, a move praised by activists who were confident it could be the start of a broader campaign.

But no other facility has lost its contract with ICE, and Biden has proposed funding 32,500 migrant detention beds in its budget, a slight reduction from the 34,000 funded by Trump. Biden’s budget reduces the number of ICE detention places and transforms some of the resources to process parole releases and other alternatives, according to a White House spokesperson. Filed Under: Families Deported by Plane

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