Biden Administration has started flying some migrants back to home country as part of new expedited removal policy

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A Guatemalan family waits with fellow immigrants to board a U.S. Customs and Border Protection bus to a processing center after crossing the border from Mexico on April 13 in La Joya, Texas. A surge of immigrants, including record numbers of children, making the arduous journey from Central America to the USA has challenged U.S. immigration agencies along the southern border.

WASHINGTON – The Biden Administration has started flying some migrant families back to their country of origin on Friday, following a new policy this week that allows immigration authorities to remove families without a hearing.

The Department of Homeland Security said that expedited removal flights began Friday for certain families who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border and could not be expelled under Title 42, but “do not have a legal basis to stay in the United States.” The families were sent back to their home countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Title 42 allows Customs and Border Protection to expel undocumented migrants to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in holding facilities.

“The expedited removal process is a lawful means to securely manage our border, and it is a step toward our broader aim to realize safe and orderly immigration processing,” the State Department said Friday. “By placing into expedited removal families who cannot be expelled under Title 42, we are making clear that those who do not qualify to remain in the United States will be promptly removed.”

About 73 individuals have been removed on these initial flights, according to a DHS official.

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DHS announced Monday that certain family units who can't be expelled under Title 42 will now be placed in expedited removal proceedings. The department noted Monday that crossing between a port of entry or avoiding inspection at ports of entry “is the wrong way to come to the United States.”

Expedited removal proceedings were created during the Clinton administration and have been used by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Immigration activists have criticized the Biden Administration for reinstating the policy.

More: White House lays out strategy to 'change the ways' people migrate from Central America

The Biden Administration earlier this week introduced a root causes strategy and a plan to work with other countries to address migration from the region.

“Irregular migration to the United States is dangerous and may carry long-term immigration consequences,” DHS said. “The journey is especially dangerous for families and children, including teenagers.”

Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: DHS flying some migrants back to home country as part of new policy

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