Report: Biden administration reverts to Trump-era deportation flights

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WASHINGTON, D.C. —  In a major policy reversal, Friday report has revealed that despite fighting Texas efforts to secure the border, the Biden Administration has resumed deportation flights to Mexico. 

The report published by The New York Times indicated that the first flight in the resumed deportations left the U.S. on Tuesday bound for the Mexican city of Morelia located deep in central Mexico. The city was allegedly chosen to discourage the Mexican nationals from attempting to return, leaving them approximately 1,026 miles from the nearest border crossing at El Paso, TX.

Two anonymous U.S. officials told the Times that the flight carried over 100 illegal immigrants back to Mexico. A senior official from the Mexican government said that the flights are expected to continue regularly for the first time in two years.

As previously reported by Law Enforcement Today, ICE data reported from 2023 confirmed that under the Biden administration, only about 142,000 deportations in total were carried out, despite Customs and Border Protection reporting over 3.2 million known encounters with illegal immigrants. It works out to a paltry 4.4 percent deportation rate relative to official encounters.

Among those deported, 49 percent had criminal histories other than the criminal act of entering the U.S. illegally, according to ICE. On average they had 3.8 criminal convictions each.

Even this proportionally insignificant number of deportations was a record number for the Biden administration. In total across the first three years of the Biden presidency, only 243,768 deportations were conducted with 59,011 in 2021, and 72,177 in 2022. Conversely, under President Donald Trump over the two years between 2018-2020, 709,227 illegal immigrants were deported.

Annie Correal of the Andes Bureau for The New York Times observed in a post to X, "More than 56k Mexicans were apprehended by border agents in Dec, the highest number since last spring."

The Times reported that Biden halted all deportation flights to Mexico in 2022, pivoting flight operations to deport illegal immigrants from Haiti and Venezuela. 

Joe Biden has, as the outlet noted, repeatedly pushed for the proposed Senate immigration bill that would allegedly allow him "as president, the emergency authority to shut down the border until it could get back under control," according to The Associated Press. However, under existing law, the President's power to close the border is not only already existent, but it is extensive.

The appropriate statute of immigration law INA § 212(f), which came to public attention in 2019 under the Trump administration grants a sitting president extremely broad power to regulate illegal immigration stating:

"Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate."

This has even been legally tested in Trump v. Hawaii, in which the Supreme Court upheld the travel ban put in place by the 45th president, noting the statute “exudes deference to the President” and “vests [him] with ‘ample power’ to impose entry restrictions in addition to those elsewhere enumerated in the INA,” as noted by the Congressional Research Service.
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