There’s no question that one of Donald Trump’s top priorities as president has been addressing this country’s illegal immigration crisis — and now, his administration is trying a new strategy.
According to Fox News, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun transporting deportees deeper into Mexico instead of simply dropping them off on the opposite side of the southern border, as had been routine.
Flights to Mexico
Fox reports that it was in December when DHS started arranging flights from Tucson, Arizona to Guadalajara, a city in west-central Mexico.
The department says all of the migrants transported on these flights were either recently apprehended after illegally crossing the border or had already gone through the immigration court system and been adjudicated as deportable.
The obvious goal behind the new program is two-fold: to reduce the opportunity for repeat offenders to easily cross back into the U.S., and to return the deported migrants to a location that is closer to their hometowns, making it easier for them to apply for benefits provided by the Mexican government.
As of now, DHS intends to operate at least two such flights per week through the end of January, transporting roughly 250 migrants each week, according to Fox. Whether the program will continue or be reformed after this month remains unclear, however.
Solving the problem
Incredibly, the plan to transport deported Mexican migrants deep into central Mexico was actually suggested by the Mexican government, which has been cooperating closely with the Trump administration to address the issue of illegal immigration in America.
That cooperation has included better enforcement of Mexico’s immigration laws as well as the country’s support for U.S. Migrant Protection Protocols, better known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which requires migrants originating from south of the U.S. border to wait in Mexico for an immigration court hearing instead of being released into the U.S. to potentially disappear before appearing in court.
Similar agreements reached with Central American nations like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras also include flights for denied migrants, according to Fox, though schedules and numbers have not been made clear.
In a statement to Fox News about the Mexican migrant flights, DHS spokeswoman Heather Swift said the measure is yet “another example of the Trump Administration working with the Government of Mexico to address the ongoing border security crisis.”
“Mexico has been a great partner in stopping illegal migration before they reach our border and in standing up the Migrant Protection Protocol which has allowed us to provide court dates to more than 55,000 individuals,” she added.
Looks like President Trump is keeping his promises.