The Biden administration is considering flying migrants at the southern border to Vermont for processing, The Washington Free Beason reported Thursday.
The Washington Free Beacon reviewed internal Department of Homeland Security documents that discussed contingency plans for processing migrants who have flooded the U.S.-Mexico border.
Plans for a "chaotic fall and winter" include seeking assistance from states that are thousands of miles away, the Free Beacon said.
DHS was managing resources for the "unconfirmed" transfer of migrants to New York and Vermont, and awaiting a Border Patrol response about the number of additional processing machines required, according to one memo obtained by the Free Beacon.
A Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman, saying the department did not address leaked information, declined further comment.
The Oct. 6 memo indicated that federal officials were considering moving migrants to the Swanton Sector, a Border Patrol site that encompasses 24,000 square miles and includes the entire state of Vermont, as well as parts of upstate New York and New Hampshire.
Documents showed Swanton Sector facilities would require significant upgrades — such as new computers and cellular systems for internet connection — in order to expand capacity, the Free Beacon said.
"The idea of moving migrants from Haiti and South America to one of the country's coldest regions shows how disastrous the situation is on the southern border, and that DHS is running low on options," one senior DHS official said.
Border Patrol statistics showed that more than 1.5 million migrants have crossed the southern border during the past 12 months. August saw 208,887 encounters, after July recorded the most encounters (213,534) in more than two decades.
The DHS inspector general last month issued a report that said employees and border town residents were at greater risk of COVID-19 infection due to the Biden administration failing to adequately screen migrants.
DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari sent a memo to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas saying the agency needed to enhance its COVID-19 response at the southern border.
"DHS leadership must commit to strengthening these COVID-19 preventative measures. Without stronger measures in place, DHS is putting its workforce, support staff, communities, and migrants at greater risk for contracting the virus," an IG report concluded.
Border cities, such as Laredo, Texas, have filed lawsuits against the administration in order to stop DHS’ practice of dropping off migrants on the streets.
The inspector general and administration critics say that not fully enforcing Title 42 — a policy used to expedite removals for health reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic — continues to incentivize migrants to come to the border and apply for asylum.
The Biden administration also is trying to end the Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy that forces asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while waiting their asylum court hearing.
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