The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) transported Americans stranded in Central America due to flight cancellations caused by the CCP Virus (coronavirus).
Two hundred and nine citizens returned because of ICE’s management, which took advantage of the return of planes used to deport illegal aliens to countries like Honduras and El Salvador.
“This was an ICE flight repatriating Hondurans to Honduras, & ICE arranged bringing stranded Americans home on the return flight from Honduras,” Acting Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli said March 24.
Many of the citizens had spent several days trying to find some way back to the United States, which had been impossible because the countries had closed their borders in an attempt to slow the spread of the CCP Virus.
So far, return flights have been scheduled from the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America, which includes Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, but ICE reported that they could be extended to other countries.
It is estimated that more than 50,000 Americans are seeking to return home after the borders of the countries in which they are located were sealed to prevent the pandemic, the Washington Post reported.
The U.S. State Department, in turn, is working to help stranded travelers return home by coordinating with the Defense Department to organize aircraft operated by civilian airlines, according to Ian Brownlee, the consular affairs officer who heads the repatriation task force.
“As it is truly an unprecedented event. The State Department’s capacity to do this is being strained,” Brownlee told the media.
Brownlee said 66 flights are scheduled to return 9,000 Americans in the next nine days.
At least 5,000 U.S. residents had stayed in Peru, of which at least 1,000 recently returned.
One of the difficulties facing the U.S. State Department is that its officials are beginning to become ill with the CCP Virus.
So far, 58 of the 75,000 officials around the world were reported to be ill, according to Acting Deputy Chief Medical Officer William Walters.
The CCP Virus first appeared in the city of Wuhan, Hebei Province, China, and was hidden by the communist regime for about two months, preventing timely control.