The Biden administration is ramping up deportations and prosecutions of migrants crossing the southern border illegally amid a 21-year high in migrant arrests and concerns about the rapid spread of the coronavirus Delta variant.
U.S. authorities are now flying Central American migrants deep into the Mexican interior using a Trump-era public health order that was extended indefinitely last week, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials, who said the expulsions are meant to curb repeat border crossings and the spread of the coronavirus.
The Biden administration has also restarted “expedited removal” flights for some migrant families who can’t be expelled to Mexico under the public health authority, known as Title 42. Since the end of July, the U.S. has carried out six expedited removal flights to Central America, deporting 242 migrant parents and children under the procedure, DHS officials said.
Migrant adults who try to cross the southern border again after being deported could be referred for criminal prosecution under another initiative designed to reduce the high recidivism rate among border-crossers, particularly Mexican men, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official Manuel Padilla said Friday during a call with Latin American journalists.
“What we want to discourage is irregular migration,” Padilla said in Spanish.
The enforcement efforts mark a new, more stringent chapter in the Biden administration’s border policy, which had previously focused on expanding asylum capacity, ending Trump-era restrictions and expediting the processing of unaccompanied children. The overall objective, the administration has said, is to establish a “humane” and “orderly” process.
“We will always be a nation of borders, and we will enforce our immigration laws in a way that is fair and just,” the White House said in a border policy blueprint released last month.
By Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS NEWS
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