The Biden administration has been quietly flying underage illegal immigrants from Texas to New York late at night for more than two months in an effort to resettle the tens of thousands of migrants taken into custody at the border in recent weeks, according to a new report.
A New York Post analysis of online flight-tracking data suggests that some 2,000 migrants have arrived at the Westchester County Airport in suburban New York on 21 flights since August 8. Many of the planes landed between midnight and 6:30 a.m., when a voluntary curfew is in effect.
The report describes late-night flights arriving under the cover of dark, filled with children and teens. New York Post reporters watched two planes land at the airport, where most of the passengers who deplaned seemed to be children and teens, with a small number appearing to be men in their 20s.
Many of the migrants were then seen meeting with relatives or sponsors in New Jersey or being dropped off at the Syosset, Long Island campus of MercyFirst, a nonprofit sponsored by the Catholic Sisters of Mercy. MercyFirst provides housing and services for “children and adolescents who are the victims of societal problems,” according to its website, which adds that it has a contract to supply the federal government with residential services for “immigrant youth.”
Someone familiar with the situation reportedly told the outlet that underage migrants usually arrive carrying backpacks and are bused to locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, upstate Newburgh, and Bridgeport and Danbury in Connecticut.
The report adds that many of the flights from Texas first touch down in Jacksonville, Fla., before continuing to Westchester. On Saturday, reporters saw a Boeing 737-700 land shortly after 10 p.m. at Jacksonville International Airport. A group of ten to 15 people got onto a charter bus near a quiet cargo terminal and traveled two hours to Twin Oaks Academy, a juvenile detention center in the Apalachicola National Forest near Tallahassee.
A spokesperson for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis questioned why the Biden administration is resettling the migrants in “secrecy” if it is “so confident that their open border policy is good for our country.”
“Why is the Biden Administration refusing to share even the most basic information about illegal alien resettlement in communities throughout our state and the entire country?” spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said.
Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican candidate for governor, told the paper that smaller planes first began arriving in April. Early on, the flights were not “as frequent,” he said.
He detailed a news conference he held at the airport in August during which he saw a flight arrive with at least 50 to 70 migrants, most of whom appeared to be men older than 20. The migrants boarded a bus that pulled up next to the airstairs, obscuring the view of people boarding it.
He accused the Biden administration of “systematically spreading the southern border crisis to communities all around the country, often shrouded in secrecy and under the cloak of darkness.”
The White House said Monday that the flights only carry children and teens.
“It is our legal responsibility to safely care for unaccompanied children until they can be swiftly unified with a parent or a vetted sponsor,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said.
“Our Office of Refugee Resettlement facilitates travel for the children in its custody to their family or sponsors across the country,” HHS spokesman Jorge Silva told the outlet. “In recent weeks, unaccompanied children passed through the Westchester airport en route to their final destination to be unified with their parents or vetted sponsor.”
The report comes as Border Patrol agents encountered 37,805 unaccompanied minors at the border in July and August alone.