Some nationalities escape Biden’s sweeping asylum ban because deportation flights are scarce

SAN DIEGO — The Border Patrol arrested Gerardo Henao 14 hours after President Joe Biden suspended asylum processing at the U.S. border with Mexico this week. But instead of being summarily deported, he was dropped off by agents the next day at a San Diego bus stop, where he caught a train to the airport for a flight to Newark, New Jersey.

Henao, who said he left his jewelry business in Medellin, Colombia, because of constant extortion attempts, had one thing working in his favor: a scarcity of deportation flights to that country. Lack of resources, diplomatic limitations and logistical hurdles make it difficult for the Biden administration to impose its sweeping measure on a large scale.

The policy, which took effect Wednesday, has an exception for “operational considerations,” official language acknowledging the government lacks the money and authority to deport everyone subject to the measure, especially people from countries in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe who didn’t start showing up at the border until recently.

The Homeland Security Department said in a detailed document outlining the ban that “demographics and nationalities encountered at the border significantly impact” its ability to deport people.

Thousands of migrants have been deported under the ban

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