The United States has quietly resumed deporting some Mexicans on flights that carry them far from the southern border, U.S. and Mexican officials said, a move designed in part to discourage them from repeatedly trying to cross into the United States.
The first flight to Morelia, a city in central Mexico hundreds of miles from the nearest U.S. border crossing, took off on Tuesday carrying more than 100 Mexicans, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide details.
A senior Mexican official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the flights were expected to continue on a regular basis.
Tuesday’s flight was the first of its kind in nearly two years. U.S. authorities more commonly deport Mexicans over land, near the border. But the number of Mexicans crossing into the United States has spiked in recent months, prompting U.S. authorities to find more forceful ways to discourage people from making the trip north.
The Biden administration is struggling to contain one of the largest surges of uncontrolled immigration in American history, with people fleeing poverty, political instability and violence in Central America, South America and elsewhere. Last week, President Biden tried to address a growing political liability by imploring Congress to grant him the power to shut down the border.
The United States paused deportation flights for Mexicans in 2022, when officials turned their attention to the skyrocketing number of migrants arriving from countries including Haiti and Venezuela.