JANUARY 19, 2018
Immigrants entering the United States illegally through the southern border are quietly being relocated to different parts of the country on commercial flights, high-ranking Homeland Security officials told Judicial Watch this week. In the last few days alone, groups of illegal aliens boarded planes at airports in Texas and Arizona accompanied by a taxpayer-funded government escort in civilian clothes to avoid drawing attention. The first flight originated at Valley International Airport in Harlingen, Texas and was bound for Minneapolis. The second left from Tucson International Airport and arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, federal sources said. In both locations the illegal aliens appeared to be in their late teens and were escorted by a Health and Human Services (HHS) chaperone. Judicial Watch reached out to HHS for comment but did not hear back from the agency.
The illegal aliens wear red HHS wrist bands and receive “the gold glove treatment,” according to a veteran federal official, who added that the undocumented immigrants get priority boarding ahead of all other passengers, including law enforcement personnel. “It is shameful and dangerous,” said a seasoned Homeland Security agent with direct knowledge of the secret operations. Labor personnel from front-line Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies have complained about the cost and security risk of flying illegal alien minors to any destination of their choosing within the U.S., according to a longtime Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official present at the meetings. One of the closed-door meetings, late last year, included President Donald Trump and his chief of staff, John Kelly.
It appears that the Trump administration has chosen to ignore the concerns of rank-and-file federal agents, instead opting to quietly extend the controversial Obama-era policy that relocates illegal immigrants to unsuspecting communities nationwide. It is known as “Catch and Release” and frustrated DHS sources tell Judicial Watch the Trump administration is essentially facilitating the ongoing commission of a federal immigration crime despite its tough border security rhetoric. In a recent newspaper article Border Patrol agents in Texas say they’ve been ordered to release illegal immigrants caught entering through Mexico because there is no bed space at detention facilities. This has provoked a surge in illegal crossings, Border Patrol officials say, because there is no punishment to deter the lawbreakers.
In the same news story, the head of the ICE officers’ union (Chris Crane) and the National Border Patrol Council (Brandon Judd) said detrimental old policies remain in place because Obama managers are still running their agencies. Crane, a veteran ICE agent, refers to the Obama holdovers as “incompetent, corrupt and anti-enforcement.” Judd said word is getting back to Mexico and Central America that illegal border crossers will be released if caught, resulting in a huge increase in crossings. In a period of a few months, border crossings skyrocketed from 11,100 in a single month to 26,000, according to figures provided in the news story. Immigrants from Asia are also entering the U.S. through Mexico, federal officials say. In San Diego, California agents apprehended dozens of illegal aliens from Asian countries in the last few months, including more than 60 from India.
There was tremendous hope that Trump would finally put an end—as promised—to the dangerous Obama policies that released scores of illegal immigrants into different parts of the country. Judicial Watch has reported on it extensively and in 2016 exposed a covert DHS program that transported illegal immigrants from the Mexican border to Phoenix and released them without proper processing. The government classified them as Other Than Mexican (OTM) and transferred them 116 miles north from Tucson to a Phoenix bus station where they went their separate way. The OTMs were from Honduras, Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala and a security company contracted by the U.S. government drove the OTMs from the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector where they were in custody to Phoenix. Outraged Border Patrol agents and supervisors on the front lines said the illegal aliens were released in droves because there was no room to keep them in detention. “They’re telling us to put them on a bus and let them go,” one Arizona law enforcement official told Judicial Watch at the time. “Just move those bodies across the country.” A year into the Trump administration, it seems that little has changed.