According to Judicial Watch, a Washington DC-based organization that advocates government transparency, illegal immigrants are being being relocated from the southern border region to different parts of the country on commercial flights. Citing "high-ranking Homeland Security officials," Judicial Watch claimed that illegal aliens boarded planes at airports in Texas and Arizona and were accompanied by taxpayer-funded government escorts in civilian clothes "to avoid drawing attention."
Judicial Watch said in its release that the first such 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, claimed Judicial Watch.
The illegal aliens wear red HHS wrist bands and receive “the gold glove treatment,” according to a veteran federal official, said Judicial Watch. As such, the group claimed that these illegal aliens are given 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.
Judicial Watch claimed that agents of the 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." The group claimed that both President Donald Trump and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attended meetings where they heard these complaints. "It appears that the Trump administration has chosen to ignore the concerns of rank-and-file federal agents," charged Judicial Watch, "instead opting to quietly extend the controversial Obama-era policy that relocates illegal immigrants to unsuspecting communities nationwide."
The unnamed sources at DHS, claims Judicial Watch, said that this “Catch and Release” policy is "facilitating the ongoing commission of a federal immigration crime despite its tough border security rhetoric." There are media reports that Border Patrol agents in Texas have been ordered to release illegal immigrants caught entering through Mexico because there is no bed space at detention facilities. According to Judicial Watch: "This has provoked a surge in illegal crossings, Border Patrol officials say, because there is no punishment to deter the lawbreakers."
Leaders of labor unions representing agents of the Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, blamed bureaucrats left over from the Obama administration. Chris Crane of the ICE officers’ union called these Obama-era holdovers “incompetent, corrupt and anti-enforcement.” National Border Patrol Association president Brandon Judd claimed that a huge increase in illegal border crossings can be expected because the word is getting back to Mexico and Central America that illegal border crossers will be released if caught. According to Judd, over the last few months, border crossings rose 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.
In a Monday interview on Fox News, Judd praised President Donald Trump's success in economic and tax issues while calling on the president's Republican critics in the Senate to support him, “so that we can get this country moving forward.”
Judicial Watch said in its release, "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 ways, claims Judicial Watch. 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, claimed the transparency organization. "'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.'”
Spero News reported on the arrival of illegal alien minors in Michigan, among other states far from the U.S./Mexico border in 2014.