It is known as ICE Air, short for ICE Air Operations Division. It is how those being deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are returned to Central and South American countries. “ICE Air Operations prioritizes safety and security for its passengers,” the ICE website promises.
ICE Air operates out of five southern hubs: San Antonio and Brownsville, TX, Alexandria, LA, Miami, FL, and Mesa, AZ. The flights cost an average of $7,785 per flight hour, according to the website. For routine flights, a B737 or MD80 aircraft is used.
After leaving the U.S., the ICE Air flights operate like a bus service, hopping from country to country, leaving deportees behind.
Each passenger flying ICE Air is allowed to bring up to 40 pounds of personal property with them. “While on a flight, detainees are offered sandwiches, granola bars, and water among other items, or a full meal depending on the length of the flight,” the website states.
A medical professional is on each flight. “ICE Health Service Corps (is) focused on best patient outcomes,” the website said.