- JUDICIAL WATCH - AUG 11, 2021 - TOM FITON -
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly using a small regional airport in central Texas to disperse large groups of illegal immigrants throughout the U.S. after releasing them from detention facilities in other parts of the state, city and federal sources confirm. Local authorities in the city where this is occurring, Abilene, are being kept in the dark and a federal lawmaker is demanding an end to the “reckless and irresponsible practice” as well as answers from DHS after a series of local news reports exposed the covert operation.
Abilene is located about 180 miles west of Dallas and has a population of around 120,000. The area’s airport is run by the city and its transportation director reveals in a news story that local officials are not aware of what exactly is going on with the illegal immigrant flights. The airport is only given 24 to 48 hours of notice before flights arrive, according to Abilene Director of Transportation Don Green, who verifies the planes are private charters from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the DHS agency in charge. The Texas news conglomerate, which also publishes reports in Spanish, writes that it “shot video of strange activity at the airport” and includes the footage on its website. It shows immigrants exiting unmarked planes, getting frisked, then boarding buses. Some footage includes buses arriving at the airport where immigrants are seen getting off and boarding planes to different parts of the U.S.
Republican Jodey Arrington, who represents the area in the U.S. House, says the flights have been coming into Abilene Airport for some time and his office has contacted ICE for more information but the agency has essentially blown him off. The congressman also reveals that he has called numerous local officials and not one has been notified by the federal government of the covert ICE operations at Abilene Airport. That includes county commissioners, judges, city mayors and state legislators who are being kept in the dark by ICE and DHS about the activity. In response to the news organization’s inquiry, ICE issued a statement saying that Abilene Airport is used to facilitate detainee transfers in accordance with operational needs and assures the agency is “committed to ensuring that all those in our custody reside in safe, secure, and humane environments and under appropriate conditions of confinement.” The DHS agency also writes that detainees in transit will be transported in a safe and humane manner under the supervision of trained and experienced personnel.
ICE also stresses that detainees’ medical and other special needs are prioritized before any transfer and that accommodations are made during transfer for detainees with disabilities. For those concerned about where the relocated illegal immigrants will end up, the agency offers this reassuring information in its statement to the Texas media outlet: “ICE is coordinating with non-governmental organizations to ensure individuals have immediate needs such as temporary shelter upon their release, as well as food, water, clothing, and transportation services to help mitigate strains placed on resources in the local community.” Custody determinations are made daily by the agency, the ICE statement reads, on a case-by-case basis in accordance with U.S. law and DHS policy considering the “merits and factors of each case.”
Congressman Arrington is calling on the Biden administration to immediately end the reckless “catch and release” operations and blasts the administration for the unacceptable lack of communication and transparency surrounding the process. In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Arrington trashes Biden’s disastrous policies for encouraging illegal immigration, emboldening drug cartels and jeopardizing the safety of the American people. “Under your leadership and as a result of the Biden Administration’s policies, the United States has ceded control of our southern border to narco-terrorist cartels, which in turn, has created an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis,” the congressman writes to the DHS secretary. The legislator also asks Mayorkas several questions, including how many illegal immigrants have been released from local detention facilities and transported to Abilene, if DHS is conducting criminal background checks on them, and if the illegal immigrants are tested for COVID-19 before being released into the community.
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