Mexico this week began a temporary air and land bridge to transfer Central American migrants from the border with the United States to their countries of origin. On its first day of operation, it returned 932 people, including some minors.
The National Migration Institute (INM) said in a statement on Wednesday that the transfer of almost a thousand migrants in an irregular situation in Mexico was made in four flights and 11 transfers by road. He did not give the number of minors among them.
The Central Americans were intercepted in different states along the border, according to the press release, but no further information is offered on when or how.
A federal authority that requested anonymity for not being authorized to make statements indicated that the flights were made from Tamaulipas and Chihuahua to San Pedro Sula, in northern Honduras, and also to Villahermosa and Tapachula, two cities in southern Mexico that have very large immigration detention stations and from where the migrants were transferred by land.
The same authority indicated that among the returnees there were Central Americans who were already in Mexico in an irregular condition and people returned by the United States thanks to a measure decreed by former President Donald Trump at the beginning of the pandemic that allows Mexican and Central American migrants to be expelled on the spot. crossing illegally. The current Joe Biden administration maintained these returns with the exception of minors traveling alone.
These people often remain at the border to attempt the crossing over and over again.
The transfer by airplanes of the migrants is new and takes place two weeks after the visit of the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, to Mexico, which will focus mainly on migration issues.
Joe Biden’s administration has had to face an increase in migrant arrivals, especially children, and has asked Mexico for help, which has pledged since March to strengthen surveillance at its southern border and transit routes.
The INM has not indicated how often the returns that began this week will have. In the past, the Mexican immigration agency used buses to transport asylum seekers south to the United States who were returned by the Trump administration to await their processing in Mexican territory. Many gave up waiting at the border due to the violence and insecurity in those areas.
The flow of migrants to the north increased this year due to the crises caused by the pandemic, the hurricanes that hit Central America in 2020 and the hopes generated by the arrival of Biden to power.
The US Border Patrol intercepted more than 173,000 people in April, 3% more than in March and the most since April 2000.