The Biden administration has started fast-track deportation flights to Central America for migrants who have been denied asylum in the U.S. after arriving at the southern border.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had announced earlier this week that such flights would resume, and on Friday announced that flights sending migrants back to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras had resumed and were conducted via Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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“Asylum and other legal migration pathways should be readily available to those who need them, and this Administration is committed to fairly and efficiently considering asylum claims,” DHS said in a statement. “Those not seeking protection or who do not qualify will be promptly returned to their country of origin.”

Those removed are those who are judged not to have a valid asylum claim and who are not able to be expelled via Title 42 public health protections. The Biden administration has been removing most single adults under Title 42, but has not been expelling unaccompanied children or migrant families with children under the age of seven.

There were more than 188.000 migrant encounters in June, marking yet another increase in encounters under the Biden administration. It included a 25% increase in encounters of family units.

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The move marks a step for the Biden administration away from its emphasis on processing and releasing those coming to the border into the U.S. as quickly as possible — sometimes with a notice to appear at court, and other times a notice to check in with a local ICE facility — and a step toward a focus on removal.

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Republicans, former Trump officials and even some officials south of the border have blamed the Biden administration’s change in messaging on illegal immigration from the Trump administration for the crisis-level numbers at the border.

The Biden administration has ended Trump-era policies like the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) which kept migrants in Mexico to await their hearings, as well as safe-third country agreements like the Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACA) signed with Northern Triangle countries. It has also narrowed ICE enforcement and pushed for amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country.

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The DHS statement indicated that this was designed to show a tougher stance to those attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.

“The expedited removal process is a lawful means to securely manage our border, and it is a step toward our broader aim to realize safe and orderly immigration processing,” the statement said. “By placing into expedited removal families who cannot be expelled under Title 42, we are making clear that those who do not qualify to remain in the United States will be promptly removed.”

The Washington Post, meanwhile, reported that a number of families were removed from passenger manifests on the flights after testing positive for COVID-19 or for having been exposed to someone who tested positive.

The flights come the same week as the White House’s release of its strategies to target the “root causes” of migration from Central America, like poverty, violence and climate change.

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The strategy includes addressing economic insecurity and inequality; strengthening democratic governance and advancing the rule of law; promoting respect for human rights, labor rights and a free press; and  countering and preventing violence, extortion and other crimes perpetrated by criminal organizations.

“Ultimately, our administration will consistently engage in the region to address the root cases of migration. We will build on what works, and we will pivot away from what does not work,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement. “It will not be easy, and progress will not be instantaneous, but we are committed to getting it right.” 

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Source Link:
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-administration-fast-track-deportation-flights-migrants-asylum

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