Monday, April 15, 2024

Fact Check: Trump says that 325,000 people came into the country by plane from unknown places

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In recent comments, former President Donald Trump mentioned a report claiming that 325,000 people were flown into the United States from unknown locations. He suggested these migrants were brought in by airplanes without going through regular border procedures or the Texas barrier.

This report seems to come from the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that wants to limit immigration to the US. The report, written by Todd Bensman, mentions a lawsuit where he obtained information suggesting that US Customs and Border Protection approved secretive flights bringing in 320,000 migrants to specific US airports last year.

However, CBP didn’t organize these flights, and the program allowing migrants to enter the US is actually public knowledge, not secret. The report also doesn’t mention that these migrants are approved and screened before entering the US.

Migrants who flew into or within the US were allowed in after being thoroughly checked through a mobile app called CBP One, which schedules asylum appointments with border authorities.

Additionally, there are parole programs that let individuals enter the US temporarily, usually for a year or less. These programs include family reunification and a humanitarian parole program for migrants from certain countries. After approval, migrants may enter the US through a port of entry or by flying in, but they have to pay for their own flights.

For example, in January, CBP processed around 45,000 individuals through CBP One appointments at ports of entry, according to government data.

Since the parole program for certain nationalities was introduced over a year ago, over 386,000 people from those countries have arrived in the US. Those who enter under this program also need sponsors in the US and go through thorough vetting. The aim of the program is to provide a legal way to the US and discourage illegal border crossings.

It’s unclear how the Center for Immigration Studies arrived at the figure of 320,000 migrants. The government calls these programs family reunification programs.

A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson stated that the parole processes are public, refuting claims of a secret program. They mentioned that disclosing information about airports could pose security risks and be exploited by criminals, which is why operational details are kept private.

Republicans have criticized the Biden administration’s use of parole, arguing it’s being used too broadly. However, parole has been used by many administrations, including Biden’s, in urgent situations such as admitting Afghans after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Ukrainians after Russia’s invasion.

The Biden administration has used parole to allow migrants from specific countries to temporarily live and work in the US, aiming to manage surges at the border.

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