White House responds to migrant transport: ‘Secret flights don’t exist’

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The White House responded Friday to leaked video footage showing migrants being transported on charter flights under cover of night from southern Canada. border states to Westchester, New York, claiming the images are “not new or news.”

“There are no secret flights,” a White House official said in response to a question from Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy. “The video footage that your network is running endlessly is from six months ago in August. What by the way, Jen [Psaki] and others in the administration also addressed this at the time. Not new or news.”

Immigrants from the southern border got off a World Atlantic Airlines plane last week.
(New York Post/Christopher Sadowski)

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The images were obtained at the request of former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino at the request of the Freedom of Information Act. Reports of such flights first surfaced in October when the New York Post recorded video at the airport in White Plains, New York.

“The images are of unaccompanied minors being transported,” the White House official claimed, “to a vetted relative or [to] a sponsor, and yes, they went through Westchester County, New York, on their way to their final destination.”

The official said the federal government has a “legal responsibility to safely care for unaccompanied children until they can be quickly reunited with a parent or vetted sponsor,” the official noted that the “Office of the Refugee Resettlement” trips for the children in her custody to their families or sponsors across the country.”

Migrants seen disembarking in Westchester.

Migrants seen disembarking in Westchester.
(New York Post/Christopher Sadowski)

According to the New York Post, flights first flowed into the airport last August in suburban places like McAllen, Texas and Houston. They only stopped after the outlet captured footage of the October landings.

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Separate footage captured by Fox News revealed several federally contracted buses delivered dozens, mostly male migrants in a parking garage in Brownsville, Texas. Black tarpaulins were set up with a sign that read:Border Patrol drop off” above it.

Commenting on those images, the White House official said: “Migrants who cannot be deported under Title 42 are placed in immigration proceedings, and one of those options could be placement in an alternative-to-detention program (ATD) in the United States. United States, where they await next steps in the immigration process, such as a court hearing, and must check in at a local ICE office.”

Footage from Fox News shows migrants being released in the US.

Footage from Fox News shows migrants being released in the US.

Title 42 gives the administration the power to ban people from entering the country during a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The official also said those who participate in ATD programs are “monitored through an ankle bracelet or similar technology.”

Peter Doocy, Emma Colton, Bill Melugin and Adam Shaw of Fox News contributed to this article.

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