Charter flights departing from the U.S.-Mexico border have routinely arrived at Alabama airports, often times just hours after midnight, an analysis of fight-tracking data conducted by Yellowhammer News confirms.
The irregular flight patterns consist of multi-passenger aircraft that departed from Texas at El Paso International Airport and arrived in Alabama at Montgomery Regional Airport and Tuscaloosa National Airport.
From June 29 to July 1, seven flights from the southern border made landing in the Yellowhammer State. Flight logs show that four of the seven flights departed around or shortly after midnight and landed in Alabama at 4:23 a.m., 3:48 a.m., 2:57 a.m. and 2:28 a.m.
Two flights over the course of the three-day period were cargo aircraft, while five were planes that held the capacity to carry a combined total of 287 passengers.
One flight on a Boeing 737-400, which was conducted by Kalitta Charters II and arrived in Montgomery shortly after noon on July 1, held the capacity to carry 188 passengers.
Yellowhammer News has not obtained information regarding the funding source of the southern border flights into Alabama.
El Paso International Airport is a three-minute drive from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service processing center, a facility that detains hundreds of foreign nationals. The facility, which is located 4.5 miles from the Mexican border, can reach over 1,200 in capacity during times of emergency.
According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), approximately 91,000 illegal immigrants reside in the state of Alabama.
Investigative reporting conducted by the New York Post in October 2021 revealed that the Biden administration had flown planeloads of illegal immigrants from Texas to New York, with plans of resettling them throughout the region.
Most of the passengers on the after-dark flights to New York consisted largely of underage migrants. However, The Post reported that some appeared to be young adult males.
While there has been no public documentation to date of migrants being flown into Alabama, bordering states have recently contended with the issue.
In May 2021, reporting unveiled that migrant children were being bussed and flown into Tennessee. Nashville’s Fox 17 covered the travel extensively, documenting that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had coordinated with third-parties to ensure migrants’ arrival in their targeted areas of destination.
Late last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) took the administration to task over what he called “clandestine” flights orchestrated by the federal government that had sent migrants to his state.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement had compiled a list of more than 70 flights that were believed to have transported foreign nationals to Jacksonville, Fla.
Last week, several Texas border counties announced emergency declarations recognizing that their communities were under a state of “invasion” due to the influx of foreign nationals unlawfully penetrating their areas of jurisdiction.
According to the Office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, “southern states, such as Texas, could reasonably anticipate 3,087,742 illegal alien crossings by the end of fiscal year 2022.”
Yellowhammer News will continue to monitor the irregular southern border flights into Alabama and provide updates accordingly.
UPDATE July 15, 10:52 a.m.:
Yellowhammer News made contact with each airline that conducted flights during the three-day period. Only one of the five airlines provided details surrounding the contents of each flight.
Two flights that arrived at Montgomery Regional Airport during the dates in question transported no illegal immigrants, according to Legends Airways. The airline advised that it routinely delivered automotive material to the airport.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to report recently released statistics regarding Alabama’s illegal immigrant population
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL