Border Patrol Flying Migrants from the Canadian Border – to Texas?
FAIR Take | March 2023
Last week, Reuters news service reported that the Biden Administration has quietly begun flying illegal aliens apprehended at the Canadian border to Texas. According to Reuters, the Border Patrol this month placed “about 100 migrants on two charter flights from Plattsburgh, New York, near the border with Canada, to the Texas cities of Harlingen and El Paso.”
As Reuters reports, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended nearly 2,900 people crossing illegally from Canada into the United States in the five months since October, more than all of fiscal year 2022. About half of those were Mexicans, who do not need a visa to travel to Canada.
While the Biden Administration has done little to deter illegal immigration on the southern border, it is characterizing these flights from upstate New York to Texas “a deterrent measure.” A CBP official told Reuters that “48 migrants — 47 Mexicans and one Colombian — were flown from Plattsburgh to Harlingen on March 13 to be repatriated, calling it “the consequence of crossing illegally.”
Reuters also states a second flight from New York to El Paso took place on March 21. “A Reuters witness saw about 50 migrants disembark from the plane, including men and women in shackles and three adults with a child and a baby. CBP, however, refused to comment.”
According to Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a third flight was scheduled for next week, but may be canceled “amid cost concerns.”
Why El Paso was chosen as a destination is unknown. El Paso has suffered from the massive weight of illegal immigration under the Biden Administration. In FY 2023 to-date, the El Paso Sector has had more encounters of illegal aliens than any other sector on the southwest border: 238,417 (including Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations (OFO)). That is more than 2.5 times the number of encounters in the El Paso sector for all of FY 2022.
The city of El Paso has borne the brunt of this massive influx. Over the past several months, multiple media outlets have reported how the city has witnessed increases in fentanyl deaths, overcrowded homeless shelters, and overwhelmed food banks. City officials have declared a state of emergency as the number of illegal aliens apprehended and released into El Paso has skyrocketed. And even CNN acknowledged that, with 2,500 illegal aliens entering El Paso each day, El Paso has become the focal point in the growing humanitarian crisis at the border.
Indeed, the huge numbers of illegal aliens showing up in El Paso led Mayor Oscar Leeser, a Democrat, to bus illegal aliens to New York City and Chicago using federal funds. In fact, as of last fall, the city had bussed more migrants out of city limits than Texas Governor Greg Abbott had transported out of Texas. Now it seems El Paso is getting more migrants back, courtesy of the Biden Administration.
At this point, there is no clear understanding whether all of the illegal aliens transported from upstate New York to El Paso were released or expelled to Mexico. However, if the Biden Administration has now decided it will indeed put illegal aliens on flights, perhaps it will consider the new and novel policy of actually deporting them. That would be the ultimate deterrence effort.