SAN ANTONIO — Immigration and Customs Enforcement is continuing its deportation flights as Title 42 comes to an end.
In the first half of the 2023 fiscal year, the Department of Homeland Security reported 1.2 million expulsions as of Friday.
The repatriation flight from San Antonio to Colombia took off Friday morning. It is the first such flight since Title 42 ended late Thursday night.
Title 42 was in place since March 2020. The expired rules allowed border officials to quickly return asylum-seekers back over the border on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Deportations are expected to continue under the rules of Title 8, which also call for expedited removals. The strict new rules crack down on illegal crossing while also creating legal pathways to apply for asylum, such as applying online and seeking a sponsor.
The migrants from Friday's flight come from all sections of the border. ICE conducts similar flights to the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Three buses of Colombian men and women arrived at the tarmac for the deportation flight headed for Bogota.
An ICE official says the migrants are restrained for their safety and the security of ICE officials who search them once they get on board. The restraints are removed once they reach their destination.
The migrants are given food and have medical staff on the flight. ICE officials say the migrants are returned after the end of their due process and spent varying amounts of time in the U.S. depending on their situations.