Nearly 40 illegal immigrants from Honduras were deported by plane on Monday, the first of many expedited deportations U.S. officials plan on as the crisis on the border continues to intensify.
"As President Obama, the vice president, and [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary [Jeh] Johnson have said, our border is not open to illegal migration and we will send recent illegal migrants back," Homeland Security officials said in a written statement, The Wall Street Journal reported
"This is just the initial wave. We expect additional adults with children will be returned to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador soon, based on the results of removal proceedings or expedited removal."
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The 18 women and 21 children placed on the flight were being temporarily housed at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico, and are among tens of thousands of immigrants to flood over the U.S.-Mexico border from non-contiguous countries. The plane flew them from El Paso, Texas, to San Pedro Sula.
More than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed the border since October, and the U.S. has deported 82,000 Central Americans — primarily adults — since then, according to department reports.
According to ABC News
, the massive influx of immigrants has been "fueled by false rumors of a June 'deadline' under which they could stay in the U.S. legally."
Last week, Obama requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding from Congress to deal with the border crisis, and this week Sen. John Cornyn, R, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D, said they would offer a bill to further expedite deportation of unaccompanied minors.
The women and children transported back to Honduras on Monday were greeted by Honduran first lady Ana García de Hernández, who is leading a campaign to try to discourage citizens from leaving the country.
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