US is flying Central Americans to Mexico to deter crossings

San Diego: The Biden administration has begun flying Central American families expelled from the United States deep into Mexico as authorities encounter more families and unaccompanied children at the US-Mexico border, a American official said Friday.

For years, the US government has intermittently flown deported Mexican migrants back home to make it more difficult to try to cross the border again, but this appears to be the first time that it has flown Central Americans to Mexico instead of their home countries.

The first flight Thursday was meant to carry 150 people, but elevated COVID-19 rates prevented authorities from hitting that target, according to the official, who is familiar with the policy change and spoke on the condition of anonymity because details were not intended to be made public.

Reuters first reported on the change.

The flights were expected to continue, with plans for Mexico to deport the migrants to their home countries in Central America, the official said.

The US Homeland Security Department confirmed that it began expelling migrants by air to Mexico under a pandemic-related authority that prevents migrants from seeking asylum at the border.

The department, which did not respond to a question about the nationalities of those aboard Thursday's flight, said the frequency of repeat crossers and transmissibility of the delta variant of the coronavirus necessitated the move. Agencies

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department and immigration agency did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

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