U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have requested airplanes to fly migrants to the U.S.-Canadian border for processing amid a surge in illegal crossings at the southern border, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Border officials asked CBP to make the request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after 1,000 migrants, including unaccompanied minors, crossed the Rio Grande into South Texas on Friday morning, while another 1,000 who crossed on Thursday night were still waiting to be processed, according to an email reviewed by the Post.
The agency has not determined which northern states would receive the migrants. Two Department of Homeland Security officials confirmed that the action was under consideration.
The influx of at least 2,000 migrants into the area through Thursday night and Friday morning came as CBP struggled to receive new arrivals, with many migrants waiting hours outdoors before processing.
A record number of over 4,500 unaccompanied minors are currently being held in Border Patrol detention facilities. As of Wednesday, over 9,500 migrant children were held in shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas traveled to the southern border on Friday with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to review the situation. One of those lawmakers, Senator Chris Murphy (D., Conn.), wrote on Twitter on Friday that the Biden administration “is trying their best to uphold the rule of law with humanity,” blaming the crisis in part on “the mess Trump left them.”
Senator Rob Portman (R., Ohio), another lawmaker on the trip, said that the surge of migrants began because of the Biden administration’s “dismantling of the previous administration’s policies with no consideration of the ramifications.”
President Biden has rescinded several Trump-era immigration restrictions, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed in the U.S. The Biden administration has also advocated a sweeping immigration reform bill that would establish a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S.
However, while Biden and other administration officials have warned migrants not to make the journey north, Mayorkas predicted earlier this week that the current influx will break a 20-year record.
“Biden promised us that everything was going to change,” Gladys Oneida Pérez Cruz, a migrant from Honduras, told the New York Times on Sunday. “He hasn’t done it yet, but he is going to be a good president for migrants.” Pérez and her son, who has cerebral palsy, attempted to cross the border but were expelled back to Mexico.