DHS Conducts Removal Flights to Venezuela and Central America

This is the 11th removal flight to Venezuela since U.S. resumed removals on October 5th

WASHINGTON — This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) working in coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), facilitated removal flights, including single adults and family units to Central America and Venezuela from December 26 – 27. If a noncitizen arrives and has no legal basis to remain in the United States they will be processed and removed quickly, consistent with U.S. law.

Since May 12, DHS has removed or returned over 460,000 individuals, the vast majority of whom crossed the Southwest Border, including more than 75,000 individual family members. In seven months, this nearly exceeds number removed and returned in all of FY19 and exceeds the number of removals and returns in each full fiscal year from 2015-2018. Daily removals and enforcement returns are nearly double what they were compared to the pre-pandemic average (2014-2019).

In keeping with standard practice, the United States ensures that all noncitizens without a legal basis to remain in the United States are properly screened for valid protection claims and withholding of removal in accordance with our laws and U.S. international obligations. This applies to all noncitizens, regardless of nationality, to ensure the orderly and humane processing, transfer, and removal of single adults and family units. During each of the past two weeks, we have conducted over thirty repatriation flights transporting thousands of individuals back to their country of origin and have repatriated over five thousand individuals directly to Mexico.

Noncitizens placed into removal proceedings present their claims for relief or protection from removal before immigration judges in the immigration courts, which are administered by the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. Due to operational security reasons, ICE does not confirm or discuss future or pending transportation operations.

ICE Air Operations facilitates the transfer and removal of noncitizens, including family units, via commercial airlines and chartered flights in support of ICE field offices and other DHS initiatives. In fiscal year 2022, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations conducted 72,177 removals to more than 150 countries worldwide.

B-roll for removal flights is available on DVIDS. DHS has made additional videos available to the public and the media including b-roll footage of removal flights, a public service announcement, and testimonials from migrants who have been removed.