Last week, the Department of Homeland Security, through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) working in coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), facilitated dozens of removal flights, including single adults and family units to Venezuela, Central America, Brazil, Colombia, India, and Peru. During each of the past two weeks, the agency conducted over thirty repatriation flights transporting thousands of individuals back to their country of origin and have repatriated over five thousand individuals directly to Mexico.
“The Biden-Harris Administration has led the largest expansion of lawful pathways in decades, and continues to enforce consequences, including removal to their home country, for those who do not use these pathways to come to the United States. The resumption of removal flights to Venezuela in October played a role in the 65% decrease in Venezuelan encounters seen by CBP in the second half of October,” said Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Kristie Canegallo. “Do not listen to the lies of smugglers. Individuals who cross unlawfully won’t be eligible for these lawful pathways and will be removed if they have no legal basis to remain.”
“There are consequences for migrants who cross our borders unlawfully and do not pursue lawful pathways to the United States,” said ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Executive Associate Director Corey Price. “In accordance with U.S. law, we will continue to repatriate noncitizens back to their home country who do not have a legal basis to remain in the United States.”
Noncitizens who lack a lawful basis to stay in the United States will be removed, consistent with U.S. law, the agency adds. In keeping with standard practice, the United States ensures that all noncitizens, including Venezuelan nationals, without a legal basis to remain in the United States are properly screened for valid protection claims and withholding of removal in accordance with U.S. laws and U.S. international obligations. This applies to all noncitizens, regardless of nationality, to ensure the orderly and humane processing, transfer, and removal of single adults and family units.
Noncitizens placed into removal proceedings present their claims for relief or protection from removal before immigration judges in the immigration courts, which are administered by the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. Due to operational security reasons, ICE does not confirm or discuss future or pending transportation operations.
ICE Air Operations facilitates the transfer and removal of noncitizens, including family units, via commercial airlines and chartered flights in support of ICE field offices and other DHS initiatives. In fiscal year 2022, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations conducted 72,177 removals to more than 150 countries worldwide.