- The Biden administration resumed fast-track deportation flights to Central America on Friday.
- The move comes after more than 188,000 migrants arrived at the southern border in June.
- Biden is facing increasing pressure to address the migrants as COVID-19 surges along the border as well.
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The Biden administration resumed fast-track deportation flights to Central America Friday as pressure grows to address the increase in migrants at the southern border.
"The Department of Homeland Security today resumed expedited removal flights for certain families who recently arrived at the southern border," the agency said in a statement. "Families apprehended by Customs and Border Protection were removed via U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Air Operations to their home countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras."
The move comes two weeks after Customs and Border Protection announced 188,829 migrants arrived at the border, the most of any month in recent history. The Delta variant of the coronavirus has also spread along the US southern border, prompting increased pressure on President Joe Biden to address the migrants.
"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 DHS statement said.
The expedited removal is used for families that cannot be deported under Title 42, a public health order invoked by former President Donald Trump during the pandemic to expel migrants without allowing them to apply for asylum due to disease-related risks. Officials had said in June they were planning to end Title 42 enforcement, but sources told Politico this week it will remain in place.
Republicans have criticized plans to ease the Trump border restrictions, especially as COVID-19 cases rise. In a statement provided to Insider, Sen. Lindsey Graham called on the administration to answer questions such as whether apprehended migrants are being tested for COVID-19 and what the quarantine protocols are.
Some of the migrants that were intended to be deported on an expedited flight Friday were unable to board due to positive COVID-19 tests, The Washington Post reported. DHS officials told The Post only 73 people out of 147 set to leave were allowed on a flight that departed from Brownsville, Texas.
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