Aid workers, camera crews, politicians, and even the nation's first lady were on hand as a planeload of mothers and children being sent back from the US arrived in Honduras yesterday. The planeload of around 40 people from a New Mexico detention center is just the "initial wave" and their deportation came at President Obama's direction, a Homeland Security official tells the Los Angeles Times. "Our border is not open to illegal migration and we will send recent illegal migrants back," he says. There will be more flights to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador in the days and weeks ahead, the official tells NBC, which notes that false rumors of a June deadline to stay in the US legally has fueled a spike in arrivals of women and children from Central America.
An unprecedented wave of around 40,000 mothers with children and at least 57,000 unaccompanied minors have arrived in the US so far this year. Obama, who says most will be sent back to their troubled homelands, has requested $3.7 billion to deal with the influx. Two Texas lawmakers plan to introduce a bipartisan bill today that will make it easier to send migrant children back by amending a 2008 law that gave them extra legal protection, the New York Times reports. "My guess is that once the word gets back to Guatemala, Honduras and elsewhere that, 'Look, it’s not a free pass. This permiso doesn't work. They actually will send you back,' that people will not start the journey," says Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate's No. 2 Republican. (Read more Honduras stories.)