Border Patrol Begins Sending Mexican Border Crossers On Flights To Mexico City
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Photo by Matthew Bowler
Since the start of the pandemic, U.S. Border Patrol has been sending anyone caught crossing the border illegally back to Mexico within a matter of hours.
This practice has created a crisis in northern Mexico, with the US essentially shutting its doors and leaving asylum-seekers and other migrants without anywhere to go amidst a global pandemic.
Now, the Border Patrol plans to fly many of them to Mexico City.
In a statement to KPBS, the Border Patrol says it’s doing this to discourage “Mexican nationals who make repeated attempts to enter the U.S. illegally and bypass public health measures. “
Medical groups, such as Doctors Without Borders, have criticized the government’s policy of both deporting and expelling migrants during a global health crisis. They say it doesn’t help protect public health in the U.S. or abroad and risks spreading the virus even further.
“Some Mexicans and some non-Mexicans crossing the border, now without any measure, or paperwork, or any other health measure they’re being sent back to Mexico,” said Sergio Martin, the mission director for Doctors Without Borders in Mexico. He spoke to KPBS from the state of Guerrero in Mexico, where many asylum-seekers are from.
“It’s not possible to say that we’re taking all the necessary measures to ensure that we’re not sending people with the virus from the United States to Mexico,” he said.
The flights will leave San Diego International Airport and will be flown by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. These individuals being expelled will be accompanied by those who are being formally deported by the government.
The Border Patrol said each individual will be medically screened before boarding a flight, and will not be held in the US for longer than 24-36 hours.
The first flight of migrants being expelled took off on Tuesday.
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