POLITICS

U.S. Deports 40 Central American Immigrants Amid Heated Border Crisis

IN FLIGHT - JUNE 24:  Undocumented Guatemalan immigrants are supervised by guards while on a deportation flight from Mesa, Arizona on June 24, 2011 in flight to Guatemala City, Guatemala. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, ICE, repatriates thousands of undocumented Guatemalans monthly, many of whom are caught in the controversial "Secure Communities" data-sharing program which puts local police on the frontlines of national immigration enforcement. ICE recently announced a set of adjustments to the federal program after many local communities and some states, including New York, insisted on opting out, saying immigrants were being deported for minor offenses such as traffic violations. Guatemala ranks only second to Mexico in the number of illegal immigrants deported from the United States.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

IN FLIGHT - JUNE 24: Undocumented Guatemalan immigrants are supervised by guards while on a deportation flight from Mesa, Arizona on June 24, 2011 in flight to Guatemala City, Guatemala. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, ICE, repatriates thousands of undocumented Guatemalans monthly, many of whom are caught in the controversial "Secure Communities" data-sharing program which puts local police on the frontlines of national immigration enforcement. ICE recently announced a set of adjustments to the federal program after many local communities and some states, including New York, insisted on opting out, saying immigrants were being deported for minor offenses such as traffic violations. Guatemala ranks only second to Mexico in the number of illegal immigrants deported from the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  (2011 Getty Images)

About 40 Central American immigrants detained briefly in New Mexico were deported Monday, officials confirmed.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the immigrants were placed on a plane in Roswell and flown to Honduras, but the agency did not say when they arrived. The adults and their children previously were housed at temporary detention center in Artesia, the agency said.

More immigrants being held in Artesia will be sent back to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador soon, as part of an effort to quickly remove immigrants who were part of a recent surge along the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities said.

"As President Obama, the vice president and (Homeland Security) Secretary (Jeh) Johnson have said, our border is not open to illegal migration, and we will send recent illegal migrants back," ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said.

The deported immigrants are part of the nearly 82,000 migrants from Central America who have already been returned this fiscal year, she said.

Last month, the Obama administration announced plans to convert the Artesia facility into one of several temporary sites being established to deal with the influx of women and children fleeing gang violence and poverty in Central America. The three barracks at the Artesia site can hold up to nearly 700 people as they await deportation or seek asylum.

Currently, about 400 are being detained by the facility, officials said.

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