Border authorities reportedly are working on a plan to fly thousands of immigrant families away from the U.S.-Mexico border amid a surge of migration.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official confirmed to The Hill that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aircrafts are flying people from its Rio Grande Valley, Texas, sector to its San Diego and Del Rio, Texas, sectors.
The official noted in a statement Saturday that the agency was also moving individuals by bus from an area in Yuma, Ariz., to El Centro, Calif., and from its Rio Grande Valley sector to Laredo, Texas.
Hundreds are already being flown to San Diego to begin processing, Reuters reported Friday night. The outlet said officials are developing plans to fly potentially thousands away from the U.S.-Mexico border.
CPB said that since Oct. 1, more than 500,000 people have been apprehended at the border and that this week there were 4,500 arrests every day on average.
The agency said that the influx of people created difficulty in meeting the legal requirement to process families within 20 days of their entrance into detention facilities.
Every week, three flights will carry about 130 migrants each from the Rio Grande Valley to San Diego, a CBP San Diego official told Reuters
“We’re in the middle of a humanitarian crisis and the numbers in Texas are staggering so the BP is helping out in those sectors to more efficiently process these folks,” the unidentified official was quoted as saying.
Since Dec. 21, ICE has released about 180,000 people into areas in the U.S., officials said.
"Whenever possible, the releases have been coordinated with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). As NGOs have reached their capacities, CBP has released family units at transportation hubs during daylight hours when the weather does not endanger those released," CBP said in the statement.
The agency said officials "are doing everything we can to achieve our humanitarian mission and will continue to coordinate with stakeholders in local communities, including other law enforcement agencies, elected officials, and non-governmental organizations, as [the Department of Homeland Security] employs a 'whole of government' approach to confronting the ongoing crisis."