After months of delay, the Department of Homeland Security replied late last month to a Congressional demand for information about the number of illegal migrants the department has flown from border towns to communities around the country. In 2021, it said, 71,617 were dropped off in nearly 20 cities including locales as far from the Mexican border as Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. Immigration experts critical of the Biden administration’s permissive immigration policies believe those numbers are incomplete, especially regarding the most vulnerable migrants, those under 18, whom DHS classifies as “unaccompanied children.” The agency says some 40,000 of the total transported are such minors, but that number is only a fraction of the 147,000 “encounters” the agency reports having with unaccompanied migrant children at the southern border between January and October 2021. Paramount among the questions raised by the transports is what happens to the unaccompanied children once they leave the airport? The major cities DHS lists, the experts say, are probably simply way stations rather than final destinations.
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