The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) flew illegal migrants from the northern border to the southern border to expel them under Title 42, a Trump-era public health expulsion order, according to an internal agency memorandum reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The flights, which are operated by contractor World Atlantic Airlines, also began with a program to move Border Patrol agents from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Canadian border to help with the surge, a U.S. government official familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak, told the DCNF. The Title 42 flights, however, have been costly, with each costing between $150,000 and $200,000, meaning they’re not likely to continue, the source added.
The northern border’s second Title 42 flight departed Plattsburgh, New York, for El Paso, Texas, Tuesday, according to the memo. The flights coincide with a surge in illegal immigration at the northern border, where Border Patrol saw a roughly 846% increase in apprehensions.
The flight Tuesday carried Mexican nationals who had crossed illegally into the U.S. from Canada, according to the email. Mexicans don’t require a visa to fly to Canada, only what is considered an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), which costs seven Canadian dollars.
The Biden administration is set to end Title 42, which the Trump administration invoked to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, on May 11.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the northern border encountered more than 68,000 migrants between October 2022 and February 2023 and roughly 109,000 in fiscal year 2022, according to agency statistics.
The agency encountered more than 3,600 Mexicans at the northern border between October 2022 and February 2023, exceeding fiscal year 2022’s roughly 3,200, according to CBP.
DHS didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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