The United States is for the first time sending illegal border-crossers to other cities for processing, transporting more than 3,000 each week from southern Texas and Arizona to other locations as the government struggles to deal with surging numbers of nearly 100,000 migrants a month crossing the southern border.
The Trump administration is flying migrants to San Diego and Del Rio, Texas, and busing them to El Centro, Calif., and Laredo, Texas, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official familiar with the plan, Politico newspaper reports. There, they are being processed — which includes photographs, health screenings, fingerprints and background checks — before they are often released and told to return for a court hearing at a later date.
It is the first time in history the U.S. has transported immigrants to other localities because federal officials can’t process them in time at their original point of entry, the official said. The government is required by law to process these border-crossers within 72 hours.
CBP quietly approved the plan in early May to work with ICE to begin relocating immigrants from Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and Yuma, Ariz., to other locations in the southwestern part of the United States. The plan will continue for the “foreseeable future,” the CBP official said.