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ICE coordinates large-scale removal flights to Central America, the Caribbean, and beyond

Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2023. 2:34 pm CST.

By Horace Palacio: The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Friday its collaboration with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to conduct multiple removal flights. These flights included the deportation of single adults and family units to Cuba, Haiti, and Jamaica.

Beyond the Caribbean region, nationals from Angola, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela were also included in the deportations. These removals were part of several other routine flights conducted across the hemisphere and around the globe.

A significant increase in deportations has been observed recently. Since May 2023, over 300,000 individuals have been removed or returned by the ICE and DHS, which includes over 45,000 individual family unit members.

In a statement, ICE clarified the legal parameters behind these removals. “Individuals who lack a lawful basis to remain in the United States are ordered removed, consistent with US law,” the agency said. It emphasized that all individuals subjected to removal are screened for protection concerns and the policy is uniformly applied to noncitizens, regardless of their nationality. This approach is adopted to “ensure the orderly and humane processing, transfer, and removal of single adults, family units and others determined to be removable.”

The rights of the individuals involved in these proceedings have also been underlined. According to ICE, noncitizens who are placed into removal proceedings are entitled to their due process. This legal recourse is ensured by immigration judges in the immigration courts, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Highlighting its commitment to operational security, ICE declined to provide specific details on future or pending transportation operations.

The agency further provided insights into its operational procedures. ICE’s Air Operations play a pivotal role in transferring and removing noncitizens. This includes family units and is executed via commercial airlines and chartered flights, aiding ICE field offices and other DHS-led initiatives.

To provide a broader context on the scale of these operations, in the fiscal year 2022, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations undertook 72,177 removals, reaching over 150 countries across the globe.


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