The U.S. Runs Its Own Airline For Deportations
Ever heard of an airline called ICE Air? it’s out there and it’s a pretty busy one. It serves 30 countries, tickets are free and it gives each passenger a complimentary meal. But to secure a flight on this aircraft, you need to be an illegal immigrant.
ICE is a one-way airline operated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and operates six days a week. It is a fleet of commercial planes that fly undocumented immigrants out of the United States. Each deported passenger costs U.S. taxpayers an average of $2,000.
ICE has detention facilities all over the country. When illegal immigrants are caught, they’re flown to one of the three holding hubs in Texas, Arizona or Louisiana. From there, ICE Air has daily flights to Central American countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and also frequent flights to Nicaragua, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and the Caribbean.
Those deported to Mexico are flown domestically to U.S. cities near the southern border, such as San Diego and Brownsville, from there, they get a bus ride over the border. When ICE gets enough immigrants to fill a plane, it also flies to Asia, eastern Europe and Africa.
Security on ICE Air is pretty tough. Passengers are patted down before they get on a bus to go to the airport, and are then patted down again before getting on the plane. Unarmed security guards double as flight attendants, but the service in the plane is described as quite friendly.
Some of the flights are exclusively for people convicted of crimes. On such flights, all the passengers wear handcuffs and leg irons.
it’s “a given” that some repeat offenders will return, but the trip back gets harder each time as security continues to be increased at the border.
Currently President Trumps plan is to deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants.