The Trump administration is now sending migrants who illegally cross the border to other cities for processing. The new move is an unprecedented step, and more than 3,000 immigrants are being transported each week from southern Texas and Arizona to other locations across the country.
According to one U.S. Customs and Border Protection official with knowledge of the plan, border-crossers are being flown to San Diego and Del Rio, Texas, and then bussed to El Centro, California, and Laredo, Texas. When they arrive at the final destination, they are processed. After they have been photographed, received health screenings, fingerprinted, and background checked, they are released and given a date to return to court for a hearing.
Never in the history of the United States has the government needed to transport immigrants to other localities for processing. Under the law, border-crossers must be processed within 72 hours. But with nearly 100,000 migrants crossing the southern border each month, officials haven’t been able to keep up with processing.
According to Thomas Homan, the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “There’s no room at facilities for them. It’s getting so backlogged. It’s a national crisis. They have to do what’s best.”
The plan was quietly approved by CBP in May and will continue for the “foreseeable future.” Two DHS officials said the Trump administration is considering sending border–crossers to Florida, Detroit, and Buffalo as well.
An official from ICE said, “Due to the incredible number of aliens crossing the border, some CBP processing centers are so overwhelmed, they cannot process everyone quickly enough. ICE currently has an agreement with them, which allows CBP to use ICE planes to safely and efficiently transport migrants to less-crowded facilities for processing.”
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