Immigration officers removed 120 Cuban nationals from the U.S. in what is being called the largest single-plane removal of Cubans to their country of origin.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers boarded 120 Cuban nationals on an ICE Air Operations (IAO) charter mission on August 30. The flight represents the largest single aircraft load of Cuban nationals to be deported from the U.S. to Cuba, according to information obtained from ICE ERO officials.
Officials report 39 of the Cuban migrants were arrested as “Failure to Comply” subject. These migrants previously “resisted removal operations.”
At least one of the Cuban migrants has an extensive U.S. criminal history, officials stated. His record includes convictions for First Degree Kidnapping with Use of a Deadly Weapon, Sexual Assault with Use of a Deadly Weapon, and Trafficking in Controlled Substances, the statement reports. For these crimes, the Cuban man received sentences of 15 years, 25 years, and 12 months in prison.
ICE officials cite the significance of this deportation flight in regards to Cuba’s willingness to accept the returned Cuban migrants. Their acceptance of the migrants, particularly those with a criminal history, shows the government’s willingness to abide by the January 12, 2017 U.S.-Cuba Joint Statement. Prior to this agreement, signed in the final days of the Obama administration, Cuba had a long history of being an “uncooperative” country in reference to the Removal Cooperation Initiative (RCI) Tool.
The IAO charter mission included an ERO Miami Field Office Special Response Team to ensure security for the flight due to the large number and makeup of the migrants being deported.
“The successful execution of this removal operation to Cuba illustrates ERO Headquarters’ ability to seamlessly coordinate with both ERO Field Offices as well as our international law enforcement partners to effect ERO’s removal mission to even the most diplomatically challenging countries,” ICE officials concluded.
In May, Breitbart Texas reported a 1,600 percent increase in Cuban migrants being apprehended illegally crossing the border in the Del Rio Sector.
In the first seven months of Fiscal Year 2018, Del Rio Sector border patrol agents only apprehended seven Cuban nationals who illegally crossed the Rio Grande to enter Texas. So far this fiscal year, that number jumped to 119 — a 1,600 percent increase, according to information provided by Del Rio Sector Border Patrol officials.
One month earlier, 1,300 migrants from Central America and Cuba rioted and escaped from a Mexican immigration facility in Tapachula, Chiapas. Approximately 700 of the migrants later returned to the facility.
In July, a port-of-entry in Brownsville, Texas, was forced to shut down due to a threat by a group of Cuban migrants to cross through the port by force, Breitbart Texas reported. This closure followed the previous day’s attempt by a large group of migrants to cross the Hidalgo-Reynosa Port of Entry near McAllen, Texas.
Breitbart Texas reached out to ICE officials for more information about the demographic makeup of the migrants and to determine how many had illegally entered the U.S. An immediate reply was not available.