The Trump administration may begin flying asylum-seeking families at the southern U.S. border across the U.S. to have their initial claims processed, the Wall Street Journal reports. For months, authorities have been shuttling newly arrested migrants—mostly families and children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—between border stations. Migrants have been bussed hundreds of miles from the border in Southern California or El Paso, Tx., to as far away as Tucson, Az., before authorities process and then release them to aid groups. Now, plans are being laid for air transportation of parents and children to other locations, including northern and coastal states, if the flow of families doesn’t diminish, a Customs and Border Protection official said. “This is an emergency. The entire system is overwhelmed,” the official said. “We are just trying to safely get them out of our facilities as quickly as possible.”
Border Patrol officials have flown nearly 1,000 migrants from overcrowded processing centers and stations in the Rio Grande Valley to nearby Del Rio, Tx., and San Diego since May 10. The private flights have cost between $21,000 and $65,000 each and can carry a maximum of 135 people. Mark Bogen, mayor of Broward County in South Florida said he was told by local law-enforcement to expect as many as 135 migrants to be flown to the area and released after their asylum claims are processed. Bogen said the county doesn’t have the resources to manage such an influx and that its shelters are already crowded with homeless local residents. “We don’t know if these are seniors or kids,” he said. “We were provided one thing: the number 135.” The Trump administration contends that the record number of adults with children seeking asylum has brought the border infrastructure to a breaking point. CBP averaged 4,500 apprehensions daily last week.