BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Border Patrol agents are reporting an increase in Mexican nationals illegally crossing into the U.S.
However, this time the agency is taking new approaches to deter crossings.
Apprehensions along the border have gone down since COVID-19 started.
However, Border Patrol says they’re seeing more and more people who live in Mexico cross over.
“We have seen quite a surge from Mexico and what I mean by that is people illegally crossing the border not just only once, but sometimes even 10 times,” said U.S. Border Patrol agent, Justin Castrejon.
To deter the crossings, the agency has put a protocol in place to fly out all Mexican nationals crossing illegally and deport them directly to Mexico City.
“This new policy from The Department of Homeland Security requires any Mexican national detained while entering illegally will be transferred to Mexico City, in the middle of Mexico,” explained Immigration Attorney, Wendoli Rodriguez, “This means they will not be processed for asylum, but instead they’ll be automatically removed within 24- 36 hours.”
In the past, migrants were sent back to a port of entry, escorted by Border Patrol agents and sent back to walk into Mexico.
Now, they’ll be detained, given a health screening and sent on a flight to Mexico City, which is about 600 miles away from the Rio Grande Valley.
“Basically, so instead of being released to a border town, you will be transferred to Mexico City,” said Rodriguez.
No one with a temperature of over 99 degrees will be allowed on the flight and masks will be provided and required on the plane.
People with a criminal history and those who have been deported before will be prioritized for the removal of flights, according to Border Patrol.
In a statement a spokesman for Border Patrol said,
“CBP continues to implement mitigating measures to prevent or slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. CBP has observed an increase in Mexican nationals who make repeated attempts to illegally enter the U.S. and bypass public health measures. Coordinated efforts between DHS and Government of Mexico counterparts will facilitate the expulsion of individuals via flights into the interior of Mexico. The goal of these repatriation flights is to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 into the United States, as well as reduce strain on Mexico’s resources along the border.”
As to how long this might go on…no one has that answer.
“As an immigration attorney, we are extremely concerned because we don’t have a specific date as to when this policy will end,” said Rodriguez.
Another border policy still in affect is Title 42 Expulsions.
Title 42 sends those who illegally cross the border back to the country they crossed from immediately, instead of being held in a detention facility.
“The continuation of these two orders illustrates the President’s continued commitment to protecting the American people from a series of multifaceted, intertwined, and complex threats at our borders, including infectious diseases. These orders have been tremendously effective in providing CBP the ability to effectively protect United States citizens and others in the country legally by reducing the spread of COVID-19. These policies will exist at our borders until the further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States has ceased to be a serious danger to the public health,” said CBP Acting Commissioner, Mark Morgan.
CBP data shows Border Patrol agents have sent back 20,887 people since March 21st when Title 42 started.
Customs OFO Officers have sent back 602 people since March 21st when Title 42 started.
The deportation flights only apply to Mexican nationals and do not apply to any other nationalities that cross the border.
Instead, those from countries other than Mexico, will be sent back to Mexico through a port of entry after illegally crossing into the U.S.