The Trump administration is flying migrants to San Diego and Del Rio, Texas, and busing them to El Centro, Calif., and Laredo, Texas, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official familiar with the plan. There, they are being processed — which includes photographs, health screenings, fingerprints and background checks — before they are often released and told to return for a court hearing at a later date.
It is the first time in history the U.S. has transported immigrants to other localities because federal officials can’t process them in time at their original point of entry, the official said. The government is required by law to process these border-crossers within 72 hours.
“There’s no room at facilities for them. It’s getting so backlogged,” said Thomas Homan, the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who remains in touch with the White House. “It’s a national crisis. They have to do what’s best.”