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Nearly 300 immigrants to be flown to California

Published:Monday | June 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM

SAN DIEGO, California (AP):

The United States (US) Border Patrol will fly nearly 300 Central American migrants from south Texas to California for processing, an official said, as the government seeks to ease the workload on agents at the nation's busiest corridor for illegal crossings.

There will be two flights today with 140 passengers each, Paul Beeson, chief of the Border Patrol's San Diego Sector, said on the weekend.

The two flights are expected to continue every three days, Beeson told The Associated Press, but it's unclear for how long. They will be mostly for families with young children but also carry adults. There will be no unaccompanied children.

unsure response

The flights to California are the government's latest response to a surge of Central Americans entering Texas' Rio Grande Valley, where the Border Patrol has made more than 174,000 arrests since October 1. Most are from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency will decide whether the Central Americans remain in custody or are released while they are in deportation proceedings. ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack declined to comment on how the agency will respond.

The government has been actively looking for additional detention space, primarily for mothers with young children, since large numbers of Central Americans have overwhelmed US authorities in south Texas. ICE has only one detention centre designed for families, an 85-bed facility in Pennsylvania that was once a nursing home.