(HorizonPost.com) – The Department of Homeland Security resumed its deportation flights of Venezuelan illegals on Wednesday with the first plane carrying over a hundred illegals back to their home country as the Biden administration attempts to address the swelling number of Venezuelans crossing the southern border illegally, the Associated Press reported.
The flight took off from Harlingen, Texas along the southern border before touching down in Miami on its way to Caracas with roughly 130 Venezuelans aboard.
ICE’s acting executive associate director Corey Price said those who are prioritized for deportation flights include recent arrivals and those who committed crimes in the United States.
According to Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens, the passengers aboard Wednesday’s flight all entered the country illegally.
The passengers were brought to the Boeing 737 by bus wearing wrist and ankle restraints. As they boarded the jet, the passengers were searched by officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The administration expects to run “multiple” deportation flights to Venezuela each week, making the South American country one of the top international deportation destinations for immigration officials.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced the first arrival of “repatriated” Venezuelans during televised remarks on Wednesday.
Venezuelan state TV showed the deportees exiting the plane wearing face masks before undergoing health checks and answering questions from officials.
According to the Department of Transportation waiver authorizing the flights, the deportation flights are in response to the increase in Venezuelan migrants that are “straining immigration systems throughout the hemisphere.”
The Biden administration hopes that the threat of being flown back home will be enough to get Venezuelan nationals to reconsider attempting to enter the US illegally and instead opt to use the online appointment system to seek a legal path or make an asylum claim.
Since the Biden administration agreed last year to permit Venezuelan nationals to enter the US if they applied online and had a financial sponsor who also arrived at the airport, over 61,000 Venezuelans have taken advantage of the program.
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