Illegal migrants aren’t just overwhelming the border
— President Biden is flying them secretly to airports around the country.
More than 200,000 people from four countries have landed over the past year, according to data obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies through a Freedom of Information Act request.
In January, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security began implementing the cornerstone of its current strategy: a series of new “lawful pathways” measures designed to decrease the historically high crowds at the southern border before they become a political problem.
DHS cajoles tens of thousands of intending illegal border-crossers per month to instead go on the
CBP One smartphone application, and make an appointment with US officials at land ports of entry instead of crossing illegally.
After making an appointment, DHS invites these inadmissible aliens to walk over to the American side at the land ports, where US Customs officials quickly “parole” them in, allowing them to travel to a city of their choice in the nation’s interior.
But one of the least noticed, mysterious and potentially most controversial of the new rechanneling programs that use the CBP One app allows migrants to take commercial passenger flights from foreign countries straight to their American cities of choice, flying right over the border — and even over Mexico.
For this measure, Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Colombians request “advance travel authorizations” through the same CBP One mobile app and take commercial flights (“at their own expense”) directly into US airports, where US Customs officers parole them into the nation, sight unseen, and in numbers publicly unknown.
Biden officials have rarely, if ever, spoken of this flight program in the year since implementing it, perhaps mindful of the political outcry over the late-night “ghost flights” that DHS stealthily arranges to ferry migrant children into various airports.
But records show that between late October 2022 and mid-September 2023, the administration approved a total of 221,456 Venezuelans, Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans for “travel mode: air.”
The Biden administration did not release the numbers of Colombians or Ukrainians approved to use the direct-flight parole program, meaning the number is even higher.
And recently, the administration added Hondurans, El Salvadorans and Guatemalans to the direct-flight program.
CBP has redacted and withheld the locations of the 43 interior ports of entry that have been utilized by this direct-flight program, claiming its release would harm law-enforcement techniques or procedures.
The administration has proven reluctant to provide any meaningful data about its vaunted CBP One-based border strategy, which allows mass parole of inadmissible aliens who would otherwise cross illegally.
The limited data that was released about the direct flights shows that, of the four nationalities, Haitians flew into US airports in the greatest numbers from January through mid-September, a total of 76,582.
These Haitians favored one redacted airport — some 47,768 flew into that airport. Among Venezuelans, 63,360 flew into 43 airports — but 39,474 of them into one preferred airport.
Some 46,794 Cubans flew into 41 airports, yet the majority of them, 33,355, favored one in particular.
It’s likely that the preferred airport in all these cases was Miami, but we won’t know for sure unless CBP provides the unredacted information.
Todd Bensman is senior national security fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.