Exclusive: ICE Air Shuffles Migrants Around Texas Due to Overcrowded Detention Centers

GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA - FEBRUARY 09: Guatemalan immigrants deported from the United States arrive on a ICE deportation flight on February 9, 2017 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The charter jet, carrying 135 deportees, arrived from Texas, where U.S. border agents catch the largest number illigal immigrants crossing into the United …
John Moore/Getty Images

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — A family of Ecuadorian migrants spoke to Breitbart Texas outside the local Migrant Resource Center and recounted their crossing into El Paso before being shuffled by federal officials to Laredo and then San Antonio. The two adults and two children say they initially crossed into the United States from Juarez, expecting to be released in El Paso.

Nearly a week ago, the migrant family says they were whisked away from a Border Patrol processing facility in El Paso shortly after crossing and taken to an airport. Once there, the migrants say they were flow to Laredo, where other agents processed their asylum claims. The family says they were processed and released to a shelter in Laredo and subsequently bused to San Antonio. Once there, they were taken to the municipal Migrant Resource Center where they are awaiting financial assistance to fly to New York.

The family says they have spent three days at the shelter since they have no funds to proceed. The father of the two children, Carlos, says he hopes to reach New York where he will attempt to find work.

The story recounted by the Ecuadorian migrant family in San Antonio is not an anomaly. A search of records for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Air Operations flights from El Paso to Laredo show at least eight such trips occurred since Tuesday. ICE Air Operations contract carriers iAero Airways and World Atlantic Airlines, collectively made up to two trips on several days of the week using MD83 and Boeing 737 equipment. Each aircraft will carry at least 150 passengers.

A source within Customs and Border Protection not authorized to speak to the media says the flights have become routine due to the increase in migrant inflow around El Paso. The flights are an attempt to “decompress” detention and processing facilities as the agency is experiencing an unprecedented influx of migrants and now is leading the nation in apprehensions. The source says some 1,500 to 1,800 migrants are apprehended daily around El Paso.

The source says the overwhelming number of migrant crossings forces the Border Patrol to release migrants directly onto city streets.

A recent Border Report story indicates the magnitude of the migrant influx in El Paso: More than 500 migrants were released onto the streets in the last three days of November.

For the second month in a row, agents in the El Paso Sector apprehended the greatest number of migrants. More than 53,000 of the 206,000 migrants apprehended in November crossed from Juarez. The November apprehensions in El Paso represent an increase of nearly 279 percent over the 14,000 migrants apprehended in November 2021.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.