‘ICE Air’: The fleet of Boeing 737s owned by immigration officials they say is ‘like Con Air’ and ships immigrants home every week

Sunday, June 9, 2019
By Paul Martin

ICE Air Operations is a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
The unit operates hundreds of flights a year, deporting some 100,000 aliens
Boeing 737 planes fly domestically to and from 24 field offices around country
They also fly to ‘high volume’ countries to repatriate Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Salvadorians
In last decade, U.S. has spent more than $1billion on deportation flights
Aliens are shackled at wrists and ankles before they board the aircraft
Chains are removed and shoelaces are given back to them when plane lands
Aliens from distant lands are flown commercially with an agent escorting them

9 June 2019

Federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement who recently rounded up some 32 illegal immigrants throughout New England will put them on an airplane for a one-way flight on ‘ICE Air.’

‘We call it ICE Air, similar to “Con Air”,’ an immigration official told the Boston Herald.

Con Air is a reference to the 1997 blockbuster film in which Nicolas Cage portrays a felon on parole who tries to stop inmates from hijacking a prison transport flight in mid-air.

Immigration officials say ‘Operation Crosscheck’, a five-day dragnet conducted in May, was aimed at deporting illegal aliens who have already been ordered out of the country.

The would-be deportees are usually flown out of Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The planes usually take the detainees to ICE Air hubs in Louisiana and Texas. From there, they are flown to Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and beyond.

In some cases, ICE officials buy plane tickets on commercial flights for an agent to accompany a deportee to far-flung places like Iraq, Germany, and Israel.

ICE officials said that of the 32 suspects caught in the New England dragnet, 27 of them have been convicted of crimes, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, identity theft, credit card fraud, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

ICE Air Operations transports detained immigrants between American cities and, for those with final removal orders, back to their home countries.

About 100,000 people a year are deported on such flights.

ICE Air, an obscure division of the controversial federal agency, operates hundreds of flights each year to remove immigrants.

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