As the United States faces a surge in migrants at the southern border, immigration agencies are releasing migrants into cities across the country.
Government-contracted planes are being used to transport hundreds of migrants from the border to ICE offices in cities like Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and New York City.
The flights are from iAero Airways, which is a government contractor. The airline is also used to transport migrants in custody of Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Tens of thousands of migrants have been released into the country from these flights so far.
iAero flights for ICE, which are known as ICE Air, are one of the main ways migrants are getting transported from the U.S.-Mexico border to ICE field offices. These offices have limited space and too many migrants are coming across the border everyday.
Former ICE Buffalo Field Office Director Tom Feeley reported that ICE headquarters pressured local field offices to release hundreds of migrants in order to make room for more.
They’re getting pounded every day fielding calls from headquarters about who they can release to make room for more people on the border. And the following week, they’re getting more calls almost daily, again, about who can you release to make room for more people on the border.
To further explain, Feeley said “So basically all we’re doing is we’re catching them at the border, shipping them into the interior, releasing them and getting more and then releasing them and then getting more and releasing them”.
Feeley explained that local leaders of the offices are forced to “play the game” to avoid backlash from headquarters.
He noted that CBP has been putting aliens on ICE Air flights to Tucson, San Diego and El Paso. They remain in CBP custody until they are processed and released by Enforcement and Removal Operations.